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2010 champ Knox leads Ga. Amateur

Ridge Pucell fell from fifth to 11th on Saturday and is nine shots behind leader Lee Knox in the Georgia Amateur Championship.

Ridge Pucell fell from fifth to 11th on Saturday and is nine shots behind leader Lee Knox in the Georgia Amateur Championship.

ROSWELL — A 4-over 76 in Saturday’s third round of the Georgia Amateur Championship likely ended former Darton golfer Ridge Purcell’s shot at winning.

The Darton and Armstrong Atlantic grad began Saturday in a tie for fifth place and just four shots back, but heading into today’s final round he is tied for 11th and nine shots back of leader Lee Knox, an Augusta native who won the tournament in 2010.

Georgia Southwestern golfers J.P. Griffin and Nate Gahman, a former Lee County star and Herald Player of the Year, also had disappointing third rounds.

Griffin fired a 75 to fall into a tie for 27th at 6-over, and Gahman shot a 78 and is tied for 43rd at 9-over.

Austin McNeill, a 2012 Darton grad, shot an 80 and is tied for 71st at 16-over.

Knox’s 54-hole score of 7-under-par 209 (69-70-70) is better than Matt Russell of Dunwoody’s 5-under-par 211 (71-71-69) by two strokes, who sits in second.

Knox, a member of the University of Alabama golf team, posted an eagle on No. 9, birdies on holes three, seven, eight and 11, and a bogey on five, 13, 16 and 17.

Starting the third round one stroke behind 36-hole leader Michael Garretson of Acworth, Knox quickly made up ground and managed to take control of the lead for the majority of the day. Going 4-under on the front nine holes, Knox made the turn with the lead and never looked back.

Garretson, who plays golf at the University of South Alabama, is in third at 3-under-par 213.

Along with Knox, Russell and Garretson, four other players are under par through 54 holes. The defending champion, David Noll, Jr., of Dalton, is tied for fourth at 2-under-par 214 with Scott Weeks of Savannah. David Yowell of Marietta is tied for sixth at 1-under-par 215 with Chris Waters of Athens.