Wetterich maintains lead at Chitmacha Louisiana Open

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Brett Wetterich seeks his first win since the 2006 HP Byron Nelson Championship on the PGA TOUR this week.
March 26, 2011
Joe Chemycz, PGA TOUR Staff

BROUSSARD, La. -- Brett Wetterich fired a 1-under-par 70 Saturday and maintained his lead through three rounds of the Chitimacha Louisiana Open. Wetterich led by midway through the back nine but opened the door to his challengers with a couple of late mistakes and will take a two-stroke advantage into Sunday's finale at Le Triomphe Country Club.

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Wetterich, winner of this event in 2003, is at 11-under 202, two better than 2009 champion Bubba Dickerson (67), Rich Barcelo (68) and Charles Warren (69).

University of Florida senior Andres Echavarria (70) is alone in fifth, three back. Martin Flores (68) holds down solo sixth at 7-under, four behind.

"I'm definitely leaving with a sour taste today," said Wetterich, a PGA TOUR member this year. "I'm still leading and they've got to come catch me. It's up to me to play good golf and not let them."

Wetterich was playing very good golf and was 4-under for the day through 14 windy holes and had increased his lead to five strokes when he reached the tee at the par-4, 15thhole.

"I made a hiccup there, snap-hooked one out of bounds and it cost me a double-bogey. It was a terrible mistake," said Wetterich, who has hit only 16 of 39 fairways the first three days. "I made another bad tee shot on 18 (water) and it cost me a bogey. Other than that I can't complain."

Wetterich continues to rally with his irons. He leads the touarnament in greens in regulation, hitting 14, 16 and 15 in the first three rounds.

"I hit the ball great and did the things I needed to do," he said. "I just made a bad swing. I was having a good round. It definitely takes some air out of you but today's over and I've still got a two-shot lead."

Dickerson and Barcelo both rolled in birdie putts at the final hole to reach the clubhouse at 9-under par.

"Brett's won before, he's a veteran," said Barcelo. "I don't expect him to do much backing up. I just put my head down and knew I needed to make birdies."

Everybody figured they needed to make more birdies to catch Wetterich, who is making his first Nationwide Tour since playing in this event five years ago.

"As it happened, Brett gave a few back unfortunately at the end there," said Warren, who was in the final group. "I think he let some guys back in the golf tournament, me included."

Warren looked like he was out of it when he hooked his tee shot out of bounds on the difficult par-4, 14thhole. The mistake led to a triple-bogey and dropped him seven back at the time.

"Through 13 holes I couldn't have drawn up a better round of golf," said Warren. "Brett was just playing great."

After putting a 7 on his scorecard, Warren rallied and canned two of four birdie putts he looked at down the stretch.

"I was proud of myself," he said. "At that point it would have been easy to pack it up without a chance to win."

Third-Round Notes

• Saturday's weather: Mostly sunny and windy. Highs in the mid 80s. Winds S 10-20 mph.

• Sunday's expected finish time is 5:15 pm CT.

Joe Affrunti (75-215) withdrew after the third round was completed.

Brett Wetterich has held/shared the third-round lead twice on the Nationwide Tour: 2003 Chitimacha Louisiana Open led by 2 shot 70 won by 3 2004 Envirocare Utah Open led by 2 shot 71 won by 1

Brett Wetterich has held/shared the third-round lead twice on the PGA TOUR: 2005 The Honda Classic shared the lead shot 73 finished T6 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship led by 1 shot 70 finished T2

• In Brett Wetterich's only PGA TOUR victory, the 2006 EDS Byron Nelson Championship, has was one stroke back of co-leaders Trevor Immelman and Adam Scott after 54 holes. Wetterich shot a 2-under 68 in the final round and won by one shot.

• Five of the past eight 54-hole leaders in this event have gone on to win the tournament -- Brett Wetterich, 2003; Ryan Hietala, 2005; Skip Kendall, 2007; Gavin Coles, 2008; Bubba Dickerson, 2009.

Brett Wetterich holds the tournament 54-hole record at 22-under par back in 2003.

• The largest 54-hole lead in tournament history is 6 strokes by Robert Garrigus in 2004. Garrigus shot a 6-over 78 on the last day and wound up T5. Jimmy Walker started the final round 8 strokes back that year and carded a 7-under 65 to finish at 16-under and win by one over Rick Price.

Brett Wetterich (2003) and Bubba Dickerson (2009) are both trying to become the ninth player in Nationwide Tour history to win the same event twice. The last player to accomplish the feat was Vance Veazey, who won the 2005 and 2009 Panama Digicel Championship.

• Three champions in tournament history have held the outright lead after the second and third rounds -- R.W. Eaks in 1993, John Wilson in 1998 and Skip Kendall in 2007 -- and Wetterich is trying to become the fourth.

• The best round of the day was a 5-under 66 turned in by Dodge Kenner who was in the first pairing off the first tee. Kenner, a Monday qualifier, was bogey-free on his round and completed his day more than two full hours before the final twosome teed off.

• The 13th and 14thholes are proving to be the toughest stretch on the golf course. The holes currently rank as first and second-hardest holes this week. The 13th, which plays to 446 yards, has a scoring average of 4.462. The 14th, which measures 485 yards, has a scoring average of 4.354. Both holes typically play into the wind.

Scoring averages for the week
Front 9 Back 9 Total
Thursday 35.420 36.308 71.727
Friday 35.100 36.107 71.207
Saturday 35.789 35.789 71.579

• The 485-yard, 14thhole has regained its' bite the past two days. The hole, which was the second-toughest par-4 on the Nationwide Tour last year, yielded only two birdies in today's third round after giving up six in yesterday's round. There were a single-day, record-high 15 birdies there on Thursday when the hole played straight downwind.

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