COLLEGE GROVE – Joey Savoie isn’t sure where his golf career will take him in the future.
Right now the Canadian native is enjoying life in Murfreesboro, where he played one year of collegiate golf for Middle Tennessee State after transferring from NCAA Division II school Saint Leo University in Florida.
After Wednesday’s round in the 70th annual Franklin American Mortgage Tennessee Open, Savoie is loving it even more. He fired a 7-under, 65 at The Grove to take a three-stroke lead into Thursday’s final round of the state championship.
Savoie will tee off at 10:40 a.m., playing with the two competitors who sit tied for second place – Eric Ansett and Stoney Crouch.
“I played really well today,” Savoie said. “Me and my caddy had really good chemistry and had a lot of fun. Our game plan will stay the same tomorrow, fairways and greens and try to make a few putts.”
Savoie is making his Tennessee Open debut. He quickly shot up the second-round leaderboard as he started birdie, eagle, birdie on the Greg Norman layout.
Savoie added another birdie on No. 7 to make the turn at 7-under for the tournament. He then ran off ten straight pars before he eagled the finishing hole.
“I couldn’t get any putts to fall on the back nine, but I feel like I hit it well,” he added. “My game was not really good (coming into the tournament) but I seem to play well in competition. Focus wise, maybe I’m a little bit better.”
Savoie’s round of 65, though, wasn’t even the low score in his group on Wednesday, much less for the entire field.
His playing partner, Ansett, did him one better by carding an 8-under, 64. It was 10 strokes better than Ansett shot in the opening round.
Like Savoie, he also recorded eagles on No. 2 and No. 18.
“He started off birdie, eagle, birdie, and I had to keep making birdies to keep up with him,” Ansett said of his round with Savoie.
Ansett recently graduated from Lipscomb, where he earned back-to-back Atlantic Sun Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors.
“I’m staying amateur for this summer,” he explained. “The plan is to stay amateur before turning professional in the fall.”
Crouch has turned in identical rounds of 69 the first two days to sit in a tie with Ansett at 6-under. He was a teammate of Ansett’s at Lipscomb and now plays on the SwingThought Tour.
Three golfers are four strokes back of the lead at 5-under, including 2009 Tennessee Open champion Bryce Ledford. He is joined by former Walters State Community College and Tusculum College All-American Brad Hawkins, and former Austin Peay coach Dustin Korte.
Tennessee State University golfer and Knox Carter High School product Jermey Fultz is alone in seventh.
Savoie and Ansett, as well as several other golfers in the remaining field, are trying to become the first amateur to win the Tennessee Open since Craig Smith back in 2012.
For updates from the 70th annual Franklin American Mortgage Tennessee Open, follow the Tennessee Golf Association on Twitter at @TNgolf.