The Roswell resident and BridgeMill Athletic Club member, said his adjusted swing felt good on the range, but the first five holes at Ansley Golf Club’s Settindown Creek course were a different story.
Already 4 over after the first five holes, Mitchell shot even-par the rest of the way and finished with a 76. He will have some catching up to do in today’s final round, after dropping from fourth to 11th on the leaderboard at 2-over 218.
“The front nine was disastrous,” Mitchell said. “I felt like I was going to shoot 85 after the first five or six. But I grunted it out. It could have been a lot worse.”
Lee Knox, the 2010 Georgia Amateur champion, is on top of the leaderboard after a 70, good enough for a two-stroke lead over Matt Russell of Dunwoody.
Knox, who recently completed his eligibility at Alabama, put together a round highlighted by an eagle on No. 9, but three bogeys on the back nine prevented him from stretching his lead.
Michael Garrettson, a rising sophomore at South Alabama, fell from first to third — four shots behind Knox — after a 75. Scott Weeks and defending champion David Noll Jr. are another stroke behind.
Mitchell’s troubles on his first five holes had to do with erratic shots while perfecting his swing.
He started off with a double bogey, then added bogeys on Nos. 3 and 5. Even though Mitchell parred 6 and 7, he said it wasn’t until the eighth hole when his swing started clicking.
With the motion of his swing growing more comfortable, Mitchell salvaged his round with four birdies on the back nine, including a 10-foot downhill putt from the fringe on 18.
“Once the adjustment started clicking on No. 8, the flight path was more consistent,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell is tied with Woodstock resident Mark Strickland, who shot 73 to move up the leaderboard. Strickland’s biggest hiccup was a stretch of three straight bogeys between Nos. 13 and 15, but he stopped the bleeding with a birdie on 16. He also had birdies on Nos. 6 and 11.
Canton’s Justin Johnson is 31st after an up-and-down third round that ended with a 76 and him at 7-over 223.
Of the 18 holes Johnson played Saturday, only six were pars. He had five birdies, six bogeys and a double bogey.
It wasn’t such a great day for former Etowah golfer David Sullivan.
The rising sophomore at Georgia College and State University saw his score balloon to 83 after he started the tournament with a 75 and 74.
Needing nine shots to hole out at the par-4 18th dropped Sullivan near the bottom of the standings. After his second shot went into the water in front of the green, it took him three shots to make the green from the drop point. He then three-putted the rest of the way.
The 18th hole dampened Sullivan’s confidence after he shot 1 under over 11 holes Saturday morning to complete his weather-delayed second round, beating the cut that stood at 8 over.
Two additional double bogeys didn’t help either.
“I played good (Saturday morning), and it sucked I had to stop,” Sullivan said. “I thought I would be in a groove, but I guess I wasn’t.”