MORELIA, Mexico -- Australians Greg Chalmers and Jarrod Lyle took different paths Saturday, but they wound up in the same place -- tied for the 54-hole lead in the Nationwide Tour's Mexico Open presented by Corona.
|Inside the Numbers|
|Chalmers vs. Lyle thru 54|
The two share the top spot with 9-under-par 204 totals at the Tres Marias Golf Club. Tom Johnson and rookie Matt Every are one back in the $625,000 event.
Bubba Dickerson, Peter Tomasulo and Todd Fischer share fifth place, four back of the co-leaders. Dickerson's 6-under 65 was the best round of the day by two shots. Tomasulo had a 67 while Fischer settled for a 68 after his lone bogey of the afternoon at the par-5 18th.
Chalmers, the second-round leader, had five birdies and five bogeys and posted an even-par 71 thanks to a tap-in birdie at the closing hole. Lyle carded a 4-under 67 that included seven birdies, one bogey and a double bogey.
"It was there for the taking," said Chalmers, who is looking for his first win since capturing the 2005 Albertsons Boise Open. "The conditions were for a good score and I just didn't do that.
"I had an opportunity to put some distance between myself and the field but I wasn't able to. It's a difficult golf course," he added. "Sure, it's a little disappointing that I didn't take advantage of that but I'm still tied for the lead and in a great position."
The left-handed hitting Chalmers had a trio of three-putt bogeys on a "scratchy day" but held his game together when his play was only average.
The sometimes-Texas resident went above and beyond, though, on the downwind and reachable par-5 16th hole. Chalmers blocked his tee shot left and wound up on some sandy and sometimes rocky ground.
"I was behind a big hill and couldn't see my target, so my caddie lined me up," he said. "I was going over a bunch of rocks and I thought I hit my 7-iron right where I wanted to."
Instead of being perfect, or even close, he wound up 40 yards left of the green, down in a rocky hazard with a pair of trees blocking his view.
Chalmers' lob wedge wound up 60 feet away and two tiers down from the pin. Naturally, he made the putt for birdie.
"That whole thing was a little bit crazy. I don't know if there's such a thing as a good birdie but that one was nuts," said Chalmers, who leads the tournament with 19 birdies. "It turns out I hit only one good shot."
In contrast, Lyle had plenty of good shots, but one in particular eventually led to a double bogey at the severely uphill 11th hole. His second shot landed about four feet from the pin but spun wickedly back off the green. Lyle then flubbed a chip and eventually two-putted for double on the 361-yard hole.
"I hit a great shot and wound up with 6," he said. "I was quite angry walking to the next tee. Sometimes it's very hard to calm myself down after things like that but it's getting easier for me to do. It's nice to be able to stand on a tee and think about getting those shots back."
The power of positive thinking turned into back-to-back birdies for Lyle and put him back into contention. He added four pars and a birdie the rest of the way and wound up the temporary leader in the clubhouse until Chalmers finished up.
"I hit it better today than I did all week," said Lyle, who tied for sixth at last week's season-starting Panama Movistar Championship and is in search of his first career win. "I knew I had to come in today and try to make some birdies and maybe get myself in a spot where I can challenge tomorrow (Sunday) and I've done. It's nice to be in contention for the second week in a row."
Third-Round News & Notes: Kelly Grunewald ran off a tournament-best four birdies in a row Friday. Grunewald birdied holes 4-5-6-7 to get to 1 under for the tournament. Unfortunately, he had four bogeys and one birdie the rest of the day and shot a 1-under 70. ... Veteran Steve Pate leads the tournament with 42 pars in 54 holes. Pate has only eight birdies and four bogeys otherwise and is at 4 under par and in eighth place. ... Saturday's third-round scoring average on the par-71 course was 71.548.