This was a day for the ones who were in no hurry — and that was no problem for Brandon Rougeau.
The 23-year-old former UT Tyler golfer rose to the occasion on a demanding Saturday out at Grey Rock Golf Club.
Whether it was constantly waiting on the group ahead, calculating some difficult winds or dealing with inconsistent iron play, Rougeau battled and navigated his way around Grey Rock to the tune of a 3-under 69 in the third round of the Austin Men’s City Championship, putting him in the lead by two shots heading into Sunday’s final round.
“I was struggling with the irons a little bit,” Rougeau said. “Just luckily I was missing in the right spots and had pretty easy up-and-downs all day. My wedges were on. Every time I had a wedge in my hand I would knock it close, and my putter was hot. I caught a few breaks and had a lot of up-and-downs, so thank God for that.”
Rougeau currently stands at 7 under. Only four other players are under par for the tournament. Ben Carter and Seger Howell sit in a tie for second at 5 under, Jake Doggett is fourth at 3 under and Josh Luongo is fifth at 1 under.
Howell began Saturday’s third round in the same position that Rougeau finished the day. After firing a 2-under 69 during Friday’s second round at Lions Municipal Golf Course, which gave him the lead by two shots at 7 under, Howell struggled on Saturday and finished with a 2-over 74.
He played in the same group as Rougeau, along with Doggett, and the three fell victims to constant slow play in front of them for most of the round — one that finished just short of five hours. As soon as they finished their first hole of the day, the three were forced to wait on the second hole’s tee box for nearly 15 minutes. For nearly every shot after that, there was usually a wait, many at least 10 minutes long.
Still, despite playing with little to no rhythm for most of the day, Rougeau wasn’t too agitated after the round.
“It’s definitely tough, but whenever you have people that you play with all the time and you know, then it makes it easier because you can talk to them, kind of kill some time,” said Rougeau, who’s played with Howell before in college. Howell plays at Concordia University, which is in the same conference as UT Tyler.
“Since I’ve been playing in college, you kind of learn how to do that because pretty much all the rounds in college are slow like that,” Rougeau said. “So you kind of learn how to pass time and make sure you don’t get stiff again.”
Rougeau’s scorecard reflected his attitude. He carded four birdies on the day to just one bogey at the par-4 10th.
Another round like Saturday’s could very well propel him to winning the city title. But this is a tournament where anything can happen, best exemplified last year when Howell blew a two-shot lead with two holes to play to lose the city title.
Come Sunday at Jimmy Clay Golf Course, nothing is guaranteed.
“You go out there and shoot 4 or 5 under, that should do it I think,” Rougeau said.
Time to see if Rougeau’s prognostication proves true.
For the full leaderboard after round three of the 2018 Austin Men’s City Championship, click here: leaderboard.htm
For Sunday’s final round tee times at Jimmy Clay, click here: pairings.htm