GREENVILLE, S.C. – Mark Anderson, of Beaufort, S.C., closed fast with an eagle and three birdies over his last four holes to post a 7-under 64 at the Thornblade Club and holds a one-stroke lead over first-year Web.com Tour member Franklin Corpening, a graduate of Texas Christian University, through three rounds of the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation. Anderson’s three-round score of 21-under 194 is a tournament record, surpassing the old mark of 20-under by Michael Sim in 2009. It’s also the best first-54-hole score on the 2013 Web.com Tour.
Kevin Foley, a winner of this year’s Panama Claro Championship, and Tom Hoge, a friend of Corpening and fellow TCU alum, both trail Anderson by three strokes. Foley, from Sommerville, N.J., fired the low round of the day, a 9-under 62 at the Thornblade Club that included nine birdies. Hoge, playing on conditionally exempt status this year, added a 4-under 68 Saturday on The Reserve Course at Lake Keowee layout, 30 miles west of the Greenville area.
Anderson began his eagle-birdie stretch run by chipping in from just in front of the green for a three at the par-5 15th and he followed up the eagle by making birdie putts of 15 feet, 12 feet and two feet on the final three holes coming in. The 27-year-old University of South Carolina alum, perhaps saved his round early on, making a good bogey at the par-4 third hole after hitting his tee shot out of bounds.
“I ended the day with a flurry,” Anderson said. “I really didn’t have anything going until the par-5, 15th and then I chipped it in for eagle. After I made a great putt at No. 16, I hit an awesome shot at 17 and converted the putt. That was a tough pin to get close to. And there at the 18th, that was just a nice way to finish.”
This is the first time that Anderson has held/shared the 54-hole lead in a Web.com Tour event. His previous best was a T3 at the 2010 Panama Claro Championship, where he finished T4.
Corpening, the tournament’s 36-hole leader, shot 5-under 67 at Greenville Country Club’s Chanticleer course despite playing the four par-5s on the Robert Trent Jones-designed layout in only one-under.
“Compared to the last two days when I could take advantage of my length and straightness off the tee, I couldn’t do it here. I had to lay back with 3-woods and 3-irons which I did and that took me out of position of going for the green in two. I putted just as good so I’m ready for tomorrow,” Corpening said.
Corpening received a Champions’ Choice invitation to play in next week’s PGA TOUR event, the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, where he learned to play the game and his father has been a member since the age of 10.
“The greens at these three courses this week run at the same speed as they will be at Colonial during the event," Corpening said. "I’m happy that I can get some good work in on the greens and I’m hitting the ball well too. It should be fun.”
Both Anderson and Corpening are looking for their maiden victory on the Web.com Tour. Anderson’s career-best finish in 59 starts is a runner-up effort at the 2011 Miccosukee Championship while Corpening’s best effort in eight career appearances is a T22 at this year’s Chile Classic. In this history of the BMW Charity Pro-Am, six players have earned their first Web.com Tour victories at this event with David Mathis the last player to do so in 2008.
The unique pro-celebrity/amateur tournament format used three different courses in Upstate South Carolina over the first three days. The final round will be played at The Thornblade Club, with the low-16 pro-am teams advancing to play on Sunday.
Notes & Quotes:
• Saturday Weather: A steady rain moved through the area in the morning and preferred lies were used at all three courses. The start of the third round was delayed for 30 minutes at The Thornblade Club. Partly cloudy during the afternoon with temperatures in the low-70s.
• A total of 70 players made the 54-hole cut, which came at 9-under 206, the lowest cut in tournament history. Last year’s cut was at 4-under and 67 players advanced to play on Sunday.
• Of the 17 previous BMW Charity Pro-Am events that have been contested over 72 holes, nine of the 17 third-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win. However, the last to do so was Michael Sim in a playoff in 2009.
• Here are the cumulative scoring averages on the three host courses after 54 holes:
Thornblade Club (par-71) – 68.512
The Reserve at Lake Keowee (par-72) – 69.208
Greenville Country Club-Chanticleer (par 72) – 70.589
• South Africa’s Tyrone van Aswegen recorded the 21st hole in one in BMW Charity Pro-Am history by a professional with a 5-iron shot on the par-3 17th hole at the Thornblade Club. It marked the third straight day for an ace in this year’s event. On Thursday, amateur Wayne Dennis made an ace at Thornblade and won a brand new BMW 325 car. On Friday, actor-comedian Gary Valentine made a hole-in-one at the Chanticleer course.
• Kevin Foley on his 9-under 62 today at Thornblade, a career-best. His previous low was an 8-under 63 in the first round of the 2012 Midwest Classic in Kansas City.
“I knew it was moving day. This is a golf course where there are points you can be aggressive and points that you should just hit towards the middle of the green. If you hit a good shot and you’ve got a good look you try and make it. I’ve been struggling over the last month and a half or so, missing some cuts. It’s good to not only be here for the weekend but to be in position going into tomorrow. That’s all I wanted to do was move today into a spot where I could be in position to contend tomorrow.”
• Jerod Turner shot the best round of the week on the Chanticleer course, carding a Web.com Tour career-best 9-under 63 today. His previous-best round on the Web.com Tour was a 64 on three different occasions.
• David Lipsky shot 29 on the front nine at Thornblade and ended up with a 65 to move up into a tie for 14th.
• There has not yet been a playoff on the 2013 Web.com Tour, however, in three of the last four years, the BMW Charity Pro-Am has gone into overtime. Defending champion Nick Flanagan, currently T60, defeated fellow Australian Cameron Percy with a par on the third playoff hole last year to win this event for the second time.
• Dawie van der Walt, currently T34, will board a plane to London following Sunday’s final round to compete in another BMW-sponsored tournament, next week’s BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s flagship event. The South African earned his European Tour card when he won the Tshwane Open two months ago in his homeland.
• In the Pro-Am competition, the teams of Mark Anderson/Todd Justice are tied with David Lipsky/Ty Gretzky at 35-under. Wes Roach and his partner Bob Johns are in third place, one shot back.
• The BMW Charity Pro-Am is the ninth of 25 events on the 2013 Web.com Tour schedule. This week’s purse is $650,000 with $117,000 going to the champion. The Tour heads to Leon, Mexico next week for the Mexico Championship presented by Banamex.