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Albany's Davis, Taylor lead Ga. Four-Ball with one round remaining

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- One guy sells gummy bears, and the other oversees probation for misdemeanor offenders.

Albany's Odd Couple.

But there they were -- Spencer Davis and Craig Taylor -- on Saturday, ignoring the wet course, the late start and some wind that teased and tossed its way around the Doublegate County Club course.

Nothing seemed to bother Davis and Taylor, a couple of old buddies who had never played in a golf tournament together before this weekend. They combined for nine birdies, and eight of those were on the odd numbered holes (it figures), to shoot a 65 and take a two-stroke lead into today's final round of the 39th annual Georgia Four-Ball Championship.

They're 15-under at 129, two shots ahead of Paul Kocsis (Fayettevile) and Jody Travis (Peachtree City), who blistered the wet course for a low round of 62.

They'll play together today, starting at 9:30 a..m.

"This will be a good grouping,'' Travis said. "We're friends with Spencer. He's a great guy. He let me stay at his house during an amateur tournament one year.''

No golf tips today, though. Well, maybe. Davis and Taylor joked all afternoon, enjoying each other's company as much as the round they played. Taylor had no idea what the team had shot until after they reached the clubhouse.

They even joked about the odd birdie sequence of making birdies on eight of the odd-numbered holes.

"I have no idea why that happened,'' Taylor said. "We would birdie a hole, take one off, and then birdie another one.''

When they weren't dropping putts they were pounding fists all afternoon over the 7,000-yard course that was drenched in an early morning rain storm that set tee times back 90 minutes or more.

"When we got out here and saw the conditions there's no way I would have thought we would shoot a 65,'' Taylor said.

They began the day tied with Valdosta's Nic Daugharty and Casey Willis, who fired a 64 on Friday and followed it up with a 68, and had a brief lead at 12-under. But they're three strokes back in third as they head into the final round today.

Davis and Taylor, who started on the 10th tee, birdied five of the first nine holes and made the turn at 4-under for the day and 12-under after 27 holes. Then they birdied three more holes on the final nine, but had two bogeys. Both were on par-3s, which was ironic because it was a 190-yard par 3 hole at 11 that got them going on Saturday.

"Craig hit a three-foot putt on 11 (the second hole of the day) for a birdie, and that just set the tone for the day,'' Davis said. "It's a good thing Craig is a big man. He carried us all day.''

But it was Davis, who saved the team on the 17th hole of the round when he dropped in a 15-foot putt on No. 8 to save a par and keep the duo at 7-under for the day.

"That could have been a momentum killer,'' said Davis, who had no idea until later how close the crowd was to the top.

Then again, no one did until they saw the board.

"We had the lead until they came in,'' joked Travis, who finished the day by holing in a 30-footer on 18 to put an exclamation point on the afternoon. When the ball found the hole, Travis and Kocsis started leaping and celebrating the shot.

"We went crazy,'' Travis said. "We were jumping up and down and screaming.''

They birdied 11 holes, and Travis gave all the credit to Kocsis.

"My partner made everything he looked at,'' Travis said. "He played awesome. He made eight birdies on his own.''

Travis, a teacher and football and basketball coach at Flatrock Middle School, had his moments. He came out of the trees on No. 12 and dropped his shot to within a foot of the cup.

"I hit it and yelled 'Tiger,' " Travis said.

Kocsis was just consistent all afternoon.

"The shot I remember the most is on 18 when I hit it into the water,'' joked Kocsis, who works for IBM. "Yeah, I'm a computer dork -- in my spare time.''

The rush from Kocsis and Travis will make today's final round all that more interesting, but it's crowded near the top.

Three teams are tied for fourth at 133, including Chase Jones and Jayce Stepp, both of Cartersville, Hartwell's Kyle Harper and Duluth's Greg Kennedy and Corey Murrell of Kingsland and Wes Spannuth of Brunswick.

Three more teams are tied for seventh place overall at 10-under-par 134, including the father-son duo of Carter and Steve Collins, the 2006 Georgia Four-Ball Champs; Doug Hanzel of Savannah and Bob Royak of Alpharetta; and William Degenhart and Walter Hagan III, both of Savannah.

Tied for 10th place overall at nine-under 135 is Baxley's Adam Thomas and McDonough's Dave Womack, Jeff Knox of Augusta and Jack Larkin of Atlanta and Jack Hall of Sea Island and Danny Nelson of Savannah. The field is now at 40, from the original 58, with the cut falling at 143. 1-under.

"We entered the tournament just wanting to make the cut,'' Davis joked.

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OTHER LOCALS:

Albany's Blake Clanton and Dwayne Hale shot a 68 Saturday and sit tied for 18th overall, making the cut for today's final round.

Dawson's Ron Lee, who played with Statesboro's Michael Jackson, shot a 75 Saturday and missed the cut after falling to a tie for 48th.

Americus' Bud Harrod, teamed with Duane Broxterman from Ellaville, as the duo also missed the cut after shooting a 4-over for a two-day total of 152 that tied them for 54th.