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October 15 2011

11:15 PM

Thompson poised, ready for Sunday

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Michael Thompson pulled ahead at Sea Island on Saturday.
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- Michael Thompson was worried about staying focused on the task at hand and maintaining his position prior to the third round of the McGladrey Classic. He held up his end Saturday and saw his opponent succumb to one costly mistake on the back nine, giving him the 54-hole lead at Sea Island. The 2010 q-school graduate and Hooters Tour Player of the Year parred every hole on the back nine and took over the lead when his groupmate, Billy Horschel, suffered a double bogey on the par-4 16th. He now stands 18 holes away from his first victory on the PGA TOUR. “A bogey-free round today on Saturday is always a good thing, no matter where I stand,” Thompson said. “To have the lead going into tomorrow is very exciting. All in all, a great day. I’m just very, very excited about tomorrow. I’m going to learn a lot and I’m just going to enjoy it.” Thompson’s even-par back nine wasn’t all smooth sailings. On the par-4 14th, he pulled his tee shot to the left and missed his second shot 27 yards right of the green near the cart path. After taking relief, Thompson blasted his third shot just inside 10 feet and proceeded to drain the putt and keep his run of pars intact. “That was a critical moment in terms of keeping up the momentum,” Thompson said. “I kind of felt like I got away with one there… I was kind of losing my tee shots a bit on the back nine and I got into trouble where I normally shouldn’t have been. To be able to play under that pressure, now I know I can do it.” Thompson almost broke out of his birdie drought on No. 18 but his attempt from 11 feet away just missed. “That was one of the best putts I hit all day,” Thompson said. “I hit that so solid, looked like it was going in the hole about a foot out, and I don’t know, something yanked it left. Just one of those things where you hit a good putt, be happy about it. If it goes in, great; if not, not the end of the world.” The week goes on tomorrow as Thompson, an Alabama graduate, and former Florida Gator Horschel will renew their SEC rivalry Sunday when they play in the final pairing for the second consecutive day. Thompson hopes the comfort of golfing again with a friend of his will help him on Sunday. “We had a great time out there,” he said. “We were talking a lot. We were laughing. It was just like playing at your country club on a Saturday. It really made me feel comfortable going out there and playing with a buddy of mine … I’m just going to go out there, play my game and add up the score at the end and hopefully I’ll be the top guy.”
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