CHUCKEY — Mike Poe hadn’t been to Graysburg Hills Golf Course in 16 years.
He definitely liked what he saw upon his return.
Poe shot a three-under-par 69 Saturday to grab the lead in the Graysburg Senior Amateur.
“It was a pretty solid round,” said Poe, who coaches basketball and golf at Tennessee Wesleyan College. “I kept it in play and made a few putts.”
Former professional Tommy Miller shot a 65 to take a five-stroke lead in the Graysburg Amateur.
The two tournaments are being held simultaneously after the Graysburg Amateur was postponed because of inclement weather last month.
Poe’s round gained momentum when he chipped in for a birdie at the par-three eighth hole. He had just gotten back to even two holes earlier with a two-putt birdie at the par-five sixth.
“To get under par, it’s a momentum thing for me,” Poe said. “I had a good lie and it was a pretty straightforward chip. It got me under par and put me in relax mode.”
Poe relaxed enough to drain a 15-footer for birdie at No. 15 and another one, from five feet, at the 16th. He holds a three-shot lead over Tim Dinwiddie and Jimmy Whittenburg heading into today’s final round. Dinwiddie and Whittenburg each shot a 72.
“I have to keep doing my thing. That’s all I try to do,” Poe said. “I just try to keep it in play and give myself birdie chances. If I putt halfway decent, I’ll be OK. If I don’t, then you’ll be talking to somebody else.”
Lyman Fulton was third with a 73 while Mike Freels and Spencer Smith were at 74.
Poe figured he hadn’t been to Graysburg in 16 years and joked during his round that the last time he was here the trees were “this high” holding his hand near his waist.
“This golf course has matured and the trees have grown up,” he said. “I’ve been a lot of places this summer and I don’t know that I’ve had more fun anywhere, and that’s not just because I played well. It’s just eye-appealing.
“Instead of the old days when you just ripped it and it didn’t mater where you hit it, now you have to pay attention. It was a lot of fun.”
Miller, who lives in Boone, N.C., played at Auburn before turning pro. He spent three years as a full-time touring pro, trying his hand at PGA Tour Q-school, and regained his amateur status in 2004.
He used six birdies and an eagle to post the day’s lowest score.
“I putted good for the first time in a long time,” Miller said. “It was nice.”
Miller rolled in a 15-foot putt for an eagle, a 25-footer for a birdie and an equally important 30-footer for a par. He credited the par putt with saving his round.
After driving into tall grass at the second hole on the Knobs side, his 11th hole of the day, Miller hacked out and put his third shot on the green before making the long par putt.
“I was lucky to find it,” he said. “That felt good. It keeps the momentum going. Pars are more important sometimes than a birdie.”
Only four players in the championship division broke par. Sullivan South golfer Brandon Worley posted the second-best round, a 70. Defending champion Carlson Cox and Chris Wynne were at 71.
The final group is scheduled to tee of today at 1:42 p.m.