Defending champion TC Ford shoots 68 to take lead at The Mackel

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Bayou Oaks South Course

NEW ORLEANS – TC Ford has given himself a golden opportunity to make history heading into the final round of The Mackel presented by Cox.

By shooting a four-under 68 on Saturday at Bayou Oaks at City Park Golf Course, Ford can do something no one has ever done in the overall division of the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Championship of New Orleans – defend his title.

Now, Ford is ready for Sunday.

“I can’t wait. My game is more focused, I managed my game today, kept the course in front of me, did not attack, I took what the course would give me,” Ford explained.

The new South Course, hosting The Mackel for the first time, gave Ford several chances to shine.

“I was solid today with my 68. I think I hit the first 17 greens. I then go on to chip in for birdie (on 18). What can I say? One of those days. If you miss a putt on these greens, it is certainly your fault. They are great.”

The former high school valedictorian, Illinois State Amateur Champion and member of the Northwestern University Golf Team has more on his mind than making history on the golf course. Ford and his wife Mikaela along with their three young sons are expecting their fourth child in two weeks.

“I am thinking of Mikaela and the boys constantly,” Ford explained.

Ford will have his work cut out Sunday. One prime challenger is 16 year old Trey Morse, who sits two strokes back in second place with a 70. Morse just last week won the Kelly Gibson Foundation Junior Golf Tour at Lakewood with a 67.

Since the Junior Boy Division participants are playing the same length and tees as the Open Division, Morse will have the opportunity to win the overall title. The feat was last accomplished in 2015 by Jacob Bergeron.

“I had it at four under,” Morse said. “I let a couple get away at the end.”

Scott Sterbcow and Kris Kerr are tired for third at 72 followed by a pack at 73 that includes 2013 champion Buck Williams and the 2014 and 2016 champion Todd McPherson. James Fuselier, Justin Caldwell, Hunter Theriot and David Blouin also fired 73. Rounding out the Top 10, Duong Jonz Nguyen and Zachary Barrios managed to shoot 74.

In the Senior Division comprising golfers ages 50-59, Andy Bower came in with a one-under par 71 to lead U.J. Mollere by two stroked. Defending senior champion Bart Dornier, a four-time winner of the division, shot 74.

Bob Neal sits fourth with a 75 while rounding out the top five are Robert Garner, Jeffrey Cedro and David Bowser at 77.

In the Super Senior division for ages 60 and over, Craig Simpson and Edward Malone share the lead at 72. Simpson’s positive review on the golf course conditions, particularly the greens, was shared by many.

“The best I have putted in years.”

The defending champion of the Super Seniors, Lock Oschsner, is in third place at 74. Mile Nolan at 75 and Tom Danos with 76 complete the division’s top five half-way through the tournament.

All divisions conclude play concludes Sunday morning with tee times slated between 7:30 and 9:30 on the 1st and 10th tees. For spectators, the Mackel is free and open to the public.

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