Claxton tied for GA Open lead after Saturday - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Claxton tied for GA Open lead after Saturday

RICHMOND HILL, GA (WTOC) -

Vidalia native Paul Claxton is right where he wants to be entering Sunday's final round of the Georgia Open: at the top of the leaderboard.

The former Georgia Bulldog is tied for the lead at -9 with Columbus native Jimmy Beck.

Claxton birdied four holes on the back nine to shoot a 69 (-3) in Saturday's third round. He held on to a share of the lead with a par save on 18 after hitting his tee shot into a fairway bunker.

"I played real solid today, hit a lot of good shots out there, and made some putts," Claxton says. "I hit some close iron shots, and that kind of helped hold my round together."

Beck, a former Kennesaw State Owl, held serve with an even par round Saturday. A pair of birdies on holes 14 and 16 helped keep him tied for the top spot.

"It's exciting to be in the position I'm in. Obviously, to be in the final pairing Sunday is always fun," Beck says. "But I'm just trying to keep the energy levels pretty normal for the most part, and try to not get too excited."

Beck and Claxton will tee off with amateur Wyatt Larkin in the final grouping at 9:30 a.m. Larkin is tied for third at -8.

Two other southeast Georgians also find themselves just a shot back.

Savannah's Timothy O'Neal overcame a double bogey and bogey on par fives to card a 69 (-3) Saturday, while St. Simons Island's Dylan Freeman shot a round-best 66 (-6) to get within one of the leaders.

"Tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully, I can eliminate the mistakes and make some birdies," says O'Neal, who finished third in this tournament a year ago. "We'll just have to see, but I like my chances."

"Hopefully I can do it again tomorrow," Freeman says. "I'm trying to keep the same game plan and just keep hitting good shots."

Freeman and O'Neal will tee off at 9:20 a.m. with Warner Robins' Ben Kishigian.

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