Dogwood’s final round should be two-man shootout

The final round of the Dogwood Invitational looks as if it will be a two-man shootout between Georgia Tech’s Oliver Schniederjans and Auburn’s Michael Johnson.

Johnson shot 9 under, Friday’s best score, and leads at 20 under entering Saturday’s fourth and final round. Playing in the same group, Schniederjans sits three strokes back after shooting 5 under. Georgia State’s Davin White is third, three strokes behind Schniederjans and six behind Johnson, after shooting 4 under.

“I think we are both playing really well,” Schniederjans said. “It’s going to be hard to catch us if we keep doing what we are doing.”

The duo will tee off at 11:18 a.m. Saturday, and both are within range of the tournament record of 22 under, set by Andrew Buckle in 2002. Schniederjans predicted Wednesday that the winning score would be close to 25 under.

After the field tore up the Druid Hills course in Wednesday’s first round with an average score of 71.3, tournament chairman Edward Toledano elected to make it tougher in Thursday’s second round with some challenging pin placements. The scoring average increased to 73.3. He took mercy on the field Friday (71.2 scoring average) and hinted that there will be opportunities to score Saturday, which may include moving the tees up at No. 18, which would put the par 5 at approximately 560 yards and reachable in two.

As golfers came in throughout the day, their predicted winning scores kept moving up and up as more red scores popped up on the leaderboard.

Johnson got his round going with an eagle on No. 9, playing 485 yards. He went 6 under on the back nine, finishing the round with five birdies and two eagles on soft greens that allow the players to be aggressive.

“You don’t have to worry about a three putt,” he said.

Schniederjans finished with six birdies and a bogey.

“Today and the first round were kind of normal days out here,” he said. “They just can’t get the greens as fast as they’ve been able to in the past.”

White isn’t ready to give up the chase. He said he if he can match the 64 he shot Wednesday, which would move him to 22 under, he should be in the mix. To reach that number, he will need to take advantage of his scoring chances, something he said he failed to do Friday.

“Just keep giving myself the same opportunities and try to make a few more putts,” he said.

Etc.: Georgia’s Joey Garber shot a 7-under 65 to move to 10 under. That third-round score was matched by several golfers, including Georgia Tech’s Seth Reeves (5 under), Alabama’s Trey Mullinax (5 under) and Oklahoma State’s Wyndham Clark (8 under). … Oglethorpe’s Anthony Maccaglia bounced back from Thursday’s 5 over to shoot 6 under Friday. He is 8 under in the tournament. … The cut for the final round was 2 under.

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