Freeman a close second, while Lizotte, McBeth make the jump to lead card
February 25, 2018 by Alex Colucci in Recap with 0 comments
With only three of the 18 holes at the Adidas Terrex course coming in at over par for the first in the third round of the Las Vegas Challenge, it is safe to say that the longest course of the three at Wildhorse Golf Club was generously giving out strokes under par. And the four Open players who will feature on the final round lead card collected a combined 49 of them.
Eagle McMahon and Simon Lizotte made the most of their opportunities, each carding 1073-rated 13-under par 49s which tied for the hot round on the day. That score allowed McMahon to jump three spots into the lead at 26-under par 155, one stroke ahead of Joel Freeman at 25-under par 156. Freeman’s 9-under par 53 third round score secured his spot on the lead card for a third consecutive round. Lizotte, now at 21-under par 160 through three rounds, is tied in third place with Paul McBeth who also made a move up the leaderboard after an 11-under par 51 performance.
McMahon had a tepid start to his round, carding four birdies on the front nine, but really took flight on the back half. The Colorado-based pro went birdie-eagle-birdie starting on hole 10 and finished out the round with five straight birdies. McMahon converted six of his birdie putts from 27 feet according to UDisc Live’s statistics, and in total made 100-percent of his putts from inside the circle 1.
Like McMahon, fellow Coloradan Freeman finished out the round with five straight birdies. Tha run helped make up for a rocky front nine that featured two missed fairways, one resulting in an out of bounds penalty stroke, that both led to bogeys and his only missed putt from circle 1 on the day. Regardless of whether or not Freeman can pass McMahon and hold on for the win in the final round, he is in prime position to significantly improve upon his highest PDGA National Tour series to date, a 39th place finish at this event last year.
Lizotte, ever one to stand out from the pack, carded more birdies (12) than the rest of his card did combined (11). He also added an eagle, for good measure, on the 540-foot par 4 2nd. Of the 13 holes where Lizotte carded birdie or better, he parked 10 of them for tap-in putts from inside 5 feet. That resulted in a field-leading parked rate of 56-percent.
McBeth moved into striking distance of the lead thanks to an 89-percent success rate at reaching circle 2 in regulation. As a result of that accuracy from the tee and fairway, he was putting for at least a birdie on all but two of the holes from inside 60-feet.
Elsewhere in the top 10 Drew Gibson moved into a tie for sixth place after a 10-under par 52 performance. He is currently tied with Ricky Wysocki and Dustin Keegan at 19-under par 162. Just outside the top 10 Nate Sexton and Paul Ulibarri each tossed 10-under par 52s to move up 19 spots and into a tie for 12th place at 14-under par 167.
Further down the leaderboard, even-par marked the cut line to 40-percent of the Open field and Jeremy Koling just managed to stay above it. His 3-under par 59 round took his three-round total to 1-under par 180. JohnE McCray was the most notable name to miss the cut after he finished out three rounds at 3-over par 184 in a tie for 80th place. Josh Anthon posted a DNF after the second round, reportedly deciding that he stood little chance to make the cut and opted to get a head start on practice for next week’s Memorial Championship.
The lead card of McMahon, Freeman, Lizotte, and McBeth tee off at 1:00 p.m. local time for the final round at the Innova course.