By BILL BURRUS
Mother Nature may have a lot to say about how the final round shakes out Sunday.
Golfers finishing their rounds late on Saturday played through some light rain, but the entire field was able to finish the second round. But whether or not Tucker Jenkins of Baldwyn and Belden’s Joseph Deraney — both tied for the lead at the 72nd annual Greenwood Country Club Invitational — get to settle things on the links Sunday depends on the weather.
Jenkins and Deraney are tied at 9-under-par after the first two rounds. Deraney tied four others for the lowest round of the day at 67.
The forecast for Sunday calls for 90 percent chance of rain with a possibility of two to three inches of rain. If play is washed out on the third day, GCC golf pro John Pielemeier said the club and the tournament committee will have to wait until Sunday evaluate the possibility of at least letting the leaders have a sudden-death playoff — if the weather forecast holds up.
Ex-Mississippi State golfer Deraney, the 2019 Mississippi state amateur champion and the 2018 Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur champion, really got his round jump-started with an eagle on the par-4 ninth hole after driving his ball on the green.
Deraney had a chance to go really low but stumbled down the stretch with bogeys on three of his final five holes.
Jenkins had one of the better rounds on Day 2, thanks mainly in part to a hot finish. He had birdies at 12, 15, 16 and 18 to wind up with a 68 — tied for the second-lowest round of Saturday.
First-round leader Steve Pannell of Greenwood carded a 72 Saturday and is tied for ninth at -7. The Ole Miss senior had somewhat of a sub-par opening nine holes after starting on the 10th hole. That rough patch included a bogey on No. 17 and a double on the 11th hole.
“I started out with a birdie and was trying to get hot but hit it out of bounds on 11 to lead to the double-bogey,” said Pannell, who fired his best score ever on his home course with a 65 on Friday. “I played well the rest of the day fighting back to shoot 2-under on the back to post an even par. Hopefully, the weather will hold off tomorrow so we can finish the tournament and see what happens.”
Ed Wall of Jackson, Kirk Reeder of Tupelo, Brother Sandifer of Greenville and Bill Hood of Greenville are all tied for third at 8-under. Sandifer tied the best round on Saturday with a 67.
Reeder plays golf at Blue Mountain College near Tupelo.
Greenwood’s Alan Ellis, a two-time Invitational champ, shot back-to-back 71s and is in 16th place.