By MICHAEL BURWELL
Being aggressive has paid dividends for Ryan Troyer through three rounds of the Ohio Amateur Championship at the Findlay Country Club.
He won’t change a thing as the 54-hole leader.
Troyer, with the help of a hot putter and long drives off the tee, carded six birdies and an eagle during Friday’s third round en route to a 3-under 67.
“I really didn’t hit it well today, but I made a lot of putts,” said Troyer, the No. 1 player for Malone University’s men’s team who won medalist honors at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships in April. “It saved me today, so looking into tomorrow I’m just going to keep playing aggressive and try to fix some stuff on the range tonight, hopefully keep that putter rolling and see what happens.”
Troyer’s three-day total of 206 (4-under) gives the Dover native a three-shot lead over Medina’s Patrick Luth, who had five birdies and four bogeys for a third-round 69. Cincinnati’s Taylor Suggs shot a 72 and was in third place at even par.
Dublin’s Justin Perdue, who was the 18- and 36-hole leader, was 4-over through three holes on Friday but salvaged a 73. He was in a five-way tie for fourth at 1-over.
Troyer, a 22-year-old who said he will turn pro later this year, eagled the 520-yard par-5 first hole for the second time in three rounds. He drained a putt from around 30-35 feet.
After hitting a drive around 340 yards in the fairway on the par-4 third, he hit his chip from 50 yards just off the back edge of the green. He converted the downhill 15-footer for birdie to jump to 3-under through three holes.
“Anytime you make a 30-footer, especially for eagle on the first hole, it transfers to the rest of your round. It just gives you that extra momentum,” Troyer said. “I’m sure that led to a confident stroke on No. 3 when I made that tough putt down the hill for birdie. It’s good to start that way and hopefully tomorrow I can do it again.”
Troyer bogeyed Nos. 5 and 7, both par-4’s, but had birdies on Nos. 6, 8 and 9 to fire a 4-under 31 on the front nine. His birdie putts on the par-3 sixth and par-4 eighth were from around 25 feet away, and his birdie putt on the par-4 No. 9 was from within eight feet.
Troyer, Suggs and Perdue, playing in the final group, each birdied the downwind 344-yard par-4 13th by using different clubs off the tee. Troyer bombed his driver off the tee to pin high in a right bunker, left his second shot around 30 feet short of the middle-left pin location and drained his putt to move back to 5-under on the day.
“That would have been a disappointing par,” Troyer said. “I had a couple holes today where I hit some bad shots, but ended up making putts.”
Perdue hit 3-wood off the tee, a wedge to 10 feet for his second shot and drained the putt, while Suggs went 6-iron and wedge to 20 feet and made the uphill putt.
“I’ve hit different clubs off that tee every day just because of the wind,” Perdue said. “I knew I couldn’t really get there with driver, so I didn’t want to take a chance and give myself a hard up and down. I just hit a 3-wood to roughly 50 yards out. I’m really comfortable in that distance and then just put a good wedge on it and a good putt.”
Troyer bogeyed the par-4 11th and after the birdie on No. 13, he poured in a 20-footer for birdie on the par-4 16th to improve to 5-under on his round.
However, he double-bogeyed the 162-yard par-3 17th after his tee shot found thick rough pin high and left of the green. His chip came out nearly sideways and went off the front of the green, and after another chip, he 2-putted to drop back to 4-under overall.
Troyer, Luth and Suggs will tee off at 10:10 a.m. in today’s final group of the final round.
Suggs birdied Nos. 1 and 3, along with 13. But he had five bogeys, including three missed 8-footers for par.
He did, however, get up and down for par from off the green with solid chip shots on Nos. 6, 7 and 9. He also hit his third shot from just off the green and well above his feet on the long par-4 15th to a foot to tap in for par.
“I definitely had some good up and downs,” Suggs said. “At this stage, really at any stage in the tournament, every shot is key. I missed a few that were pretty pivotal, so I just got to go back and hopefully do better tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Perdue double-bogeyed No. 1 and bogeyed the next two holes, including a 3-putt from 30 feet on No. 3.
But Perdue settled in after getting pars on the next four holes. He had a solid chip from off the back edge of the green on No. 5 and tapped in for par.
“That kind of got me going. Just two in a row, then I got another pretty good birdie look on six,” Perdue said. “That stretch right there got me going, it was like ‘all right, you’re out of the bogey streak, just get back in your groove now.'”
Perdue had three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the back nine. His drive on No. 11 went more than 300 yards, and he hit his second shot from around 120 yards out to 10 feet above the hole.
He made the putt for his first birdie of the day, and after the birdie on No. 13, he made an 8-foot putt for birdie on No. 14.
Perdue’s par putt on No. 15 from 10 feet away slid just right of the hole to drop him back to 3-over on his round. He parred the last three holes to keep himself in contention.
Perdue said he’s hoping for a round similar to Wednesday’s 65.
“(I) Just got to take the momentum from the last 14 holes today into tomorrow,” Perdue said, “and hopefully, I can keep hitting the ball well and get some more putts to drop tomorrow and put up a number like I did the first day.”
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By MICHAEL BURWELL