May 4, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia graduate Brendon Todd shot a 2-under 69 Saturday at the University of Georgia Golf Course to grab sole possession of the lead through 54 holes at the Web.com Tour's Stadion Classic at UGA.
Todd, looking to become the third straight Georgia player to win the tournament after Russell Henley (2011) and Hudson Swafford (2012), made four birdies and two bogeys to finish 8-under par 205, one better than Tim Wilkinson. Nick Rousey trails by two after a 5-under 66 and Alexandre Rocha is three back at 5-under 208.
With the field battling steady wind, rain and brisk temperatures all day, Todd carded three birdies on the back nine before a bogey at the last to post one of just six rounds in the 60s on Saturday.
“I was a little disappointed to make bogey on 18, but overall I made a nice couple of birdies coming in and that made it not sting as much,” said Todd. “I knew there wouldn’t be anything bad that could come from leading after today. To win here in Athens would be really special.”
With an ominous weather forecast looming for Sunday - tee times have been moved back to 11 a.m. with players going off the 1st and 10th tees in threesomes - Todd said he considered the possibility that the event may be shortened to 54 holes and Saturday’s third round may be the last golf played this week.
“I was looking at the leaderboards all day,” said Todd. “I don’t know how Tim was playing it, but I was basically playing to win today. I tried to treat it like a one-day shootout. You don’t know what the weather’s going to have for us tomorrow.”
Wilkinson, meanwhile, said he was trying to stay focused on the present in the difficult elements. A missed par putt under five feet at the 18th would have tied him for the lead, instead giving him a round of 1-under 70 and leaving him a shot behind Todd.
“I was just trying to stay dry and play as well as I could,” said the 34 year-old left-hander, who added that his short game has been sharp enough to keep him close to the lead. “I’ve been chipping them really close, which makes it a lot easier than making six-, seven- and eight-foot putts for par.”
Rousey’s 5-under 66 marked the best round of the day by two shots, giving him third place alone through 54 holes. Rocha, meanwhile, holed his second shot on the 18th to post a 3-under 68 and sit in fourth at 5-under.
Former Bulldog Ryuji Imada is also within striking distance at 3-under 210 following his third-round 1-over 72. Also former Georgia players Kevin Kisner (69) and Hudson Swafford (72) are at 2-under 211 and 1-over 214, respectively.
In the final round on Sunday, Swafford will tee off at 11 a.m., followed by Kisner at 12:06 p.m., Imada at 12:28 p.m. and Todd at 12:50 p.m.
Third-Round Notes & Quotes:
* Lift, clean and place conditions were in effect for the third round.
* Tee times for the fourth round will run from 11:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. Play will be in threesomes off the 1st and 10th tees. Times were pushed back due to anticipated overnight and early morning thunderstorms.
* There were 10 former or current Georgia Bulldogs in the field, with four making the cut.
1. Brendon Todd (-8)
T-8. Ryuji Imada (-3)
T-13. Kevin Kisner (-2)
T-27. Hudson Swafford (+1)
MC Scott Parel
MC Richard Scott
MC Paul Claxton
MC Adam Mitchell
MC (a) Keith Mitchell
MC (a) T.J. Mitchell
* Tim Wilkinson, who credited his short game for his solid performance through three rounds, leads the field in scrambling at 85 per cent, having saved par on 17 of 20 missed greens. “It’s huge when you’re scrambling well,” said Wilkinson. “My short game’s always been pretty strong, and you’re just not going to hit every green out there.
* No players have shot in the 60s all three days at UGA Golf Course.
* Brazil’s Alexandre Rocha holed his second shot on the par-4 18th for an eagle, matching Shane Bertsch’s feat from round 2. There have been six eagles for the week at the Stadion Classic at UGA, with four coming on par-4s:
R3 Alexandre Rocha No. 18 par-4
R2 D.J. Brigman No. 7 par-5
R2 Scott Harrington No. 7 par-5
R2 Shane Bertsch No. 18 par-4
R2 Chris DeForest No. 5 par-4
R1 Zecheriah Potter No. 6 par-4
* Brendon Todd, currently No. 37 on the money list, could move as high as No. 3 with a win. Tim Wilkinson, currently No. 28 could move as high as No. 2 The winner receives $108,000 of the $600,000 purse this week.
* Nick Rousey missed a 6-foot par putt on the ninth hole (his 18th) that would have given him the only bogey-free round Saturday. There were nine bogey-free rounds in the first two rounds:
R2 66 - Miguel Carballo
R2 67 - Matt Bettencourt, Corey Nagy
R2 68 - Patrick Cantlay
R2 70 - Zecheriah Potter
R1 67 - Tim Wilkinson
R1 68 - Bill Lunde, Bhavik Patel, Edward Loar
Said Rousey of managing the difficult conditions: “It’s probably more mental than physical because it’s another factor that you have to think about. I made some nice par saves. I kept hitting greens and being patient, and it all worked out in my favor.”
* Course statistics for the week:
Front (35) Back (36) Total (71)
R1 35.814 36.397 72.212
R2 35.954 36.229 72.183
R3 36.532 36.855 73.387
* The Web.com Tour will take next week off before resuming play May 13-19 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, S.C.