There are still two more college golf seasons remaining before Mansfield’s Kolton Crawford can play his way into a nice paycheck.
But the University of Arkansas junior found his way into the final group Saturday morning at the Bright Realty Texas State Open and just one shot back of leader Anthony Broussard of Dallas.
In trying, however, to become the first amateur since Homero Blancas in 1960 to win the State Open, Crawford fired blanks in a round of 78 at The Lakes at Castle Hills.
Broussard, on the other hand, kept his foot on the gas with a 5-under 67 Saturday for a 19-under 196 score. The former North Texas standout takes a seven-shot lead over Brazil’s Rafael Becker into Sunday’s final round.
“I just didn’t get putts to fall today,” Crawford said. “This wasn’t a foreign thing to me, at least playing in this event. I’ve played well here several times and I was comfortable. I just hit my driver in some bad spots and just had a bad day.”
Still, the closing double bogeys on No. 17 and 18 dropped Crawford back to a tie for 14th, and he’ll need a Sunday charge to make up ground.
“I’ve played probably 13 tournaments since January, so professionals may play more, but I wouldn’t say I’m behind the curve out here,” Crawford said. “I still practice a lot. It was just a frustrating day because I’ve always had a good track record here and I play well in this tournament.”
Broussard was lights out again, registering five birdies and an eagle in his round after running out to a 36-hole total of 129 at the halfway point.
He pushed his total to 19 under, thanks in part to shots such as his play at the eighth hole.
He reached the par 5 with a 9-iron second shot after a drive of well over 350 yards and covered the eagle try.
It was one of 11 greens that Broussard hit on Saturday, but he said most of his scoring chances were inside 12 feet.
“My ball striking has been pretty good and I feel like I have the course mapped out pretty well,” he said. “For me, the thing is just to limit mistakes, and then the wind was straight out of the east today, which was different from the first two rounds.”
Becker fired a 7-under 65 for the day’s low round and sits at 12 under for the tournament.
Arlington’s Casey Devoll, who won the State Open in 2003, climbed to fifth with a round of 69.
Devoll said his performance is unexpected.
“I’ve played one round of golf since June 12,” he said. “It’s been all putter the first three days. I’ve been rolling it and really getting it around the course.”