Staten takes 54-hole lead at Rex Hospital Open

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B.J. Staten holds the third round lead at the Rex Hospital Open.
June 02, 2012
Joe Chemycz, Nationwide Tour staff

RALEIGH, N.C. -- B.J. Staten rolled in a 50-foot birdie on the final hole Saturday to move into sole possession of the 54-hole lead at The Rex Hospital Open. Staten, a lefty from Utah, capped off a 5-under 66 with his second-longest putt of the week to get to 13-under 200, one better than playing partner Jim Renner 67), the first-round leader.

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"I made about an 80-footer in my practice round," said Staten, who won a 'friendly wager' with his caddie on Tuesday.

Scott Parel (67), Reid Edstrom (68) and second-round leader Justin Hicks (71) share third place at TPC Wakefield Plantation, three back of Staten, who is in search of his first career title on the Nationwide Tour.

Josh Broadaway (65), James Hahn (69), Charlotte's Jeff Curl (70) and Shane Bertsch (70) are four off the lead heading into Sunday's finale.

The tournament is back on schedule after a pair of rain delays Friday kept half the field from finishing the second round. Renner and Staten were among those that returned to the course early Saturday morning. Renner had completed only six holes of his round and Staten just seven.

Staten reeled off 11 straight pars to end his round, while Renner played his final 13 even-par as well. They were two shots back of Hicks, who had polished off his second straight 66 Friday morning and had a 26-hour rest before starting round three.

Staten got off to a quick start in the third round with birdies on four of his first six holes to jump into the lead at 12-under par. An errant tee shot on the par-4 8th resulted in a bogey, his first of the week.

"I think I've been really patient all week and just come out trying to hit fairways and greens," he said. "Anytime you can go 43 holes before you make your first one, you know you're going to make some birdies and have some opportunities."

Staten had two bogeys in the round but bounced back immediately with a birdie on the following hole.

"It's usually the other way around," he joked. "I'll usually birdie a hole and then get too fast or lose my rhythm. It was nice to have par-5s after the bogeys so I had a chance to hit a wedge in there close."

Steady for the rest of a long day, Staten finds himself atop the 54-hole leaderboard for the fourth time but has yet to break into the winner's circle.

"I think I've learned a lot from those opportunities. Whether you're playing college golf, or mini-tour golf or golf at this level you've got to find a way to put four rounds together and obviously that's difficult sometimes," said Staten.

"I'm sure somebody will go low, somebody always does, that's the nature of the quality of play out here. If it's not one person it might be two or three. You've got to keep your foot to the petal and I think anybody would tell you that."

Third-Round Notes

• Third-round play was in threesomes off the 1st and 10th tees. Times ran from 1:10-2:49 p.m. Play finished at 7:55 p.m.

• Sunday's play will be in twosomes off the 1st tee. Tee times will run from 7:54 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Josh Broadaway's 65 matched the second-lowest third-round score of his career. He shot a 64 in the third round of the Panama Claro Championship earlier this year.

• This is the fourth time B.J. Staten has held/shared the lead after three rounds in 136 career starts on the Nationwide Tour (including this week). He shared the lead at the 2010 Melwood Prince George's County Open (T30) and the 2010 Mexico Open Bicentenary (P2). He also held the outright lead at the 2011 WNB Golf Classic (T10).

• Second-round Justin Hicks is seeking his third career win -- 2008 Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic, 2010 BMW Charity Pro-Am. Hicks stumbled with a double-bogey at No. 17 today but recovered with a short birdie putt on No. 18 to get back within three of the lead.

Scott Parel is currently tied for third. Parel, who has not won on Tour, has not had a top-10 finish on the Nationwide Tour since a solo fourth at the 2008 South Georgia Classic -- a span of 53 starts.

Reid Edstrom is also T3 heading into Sunday. Edstrom's career best finish in 25 previous starts is a solo seventh at this event in 2008.

Oscar Serna was tied for second after 36 holes and one off the lead but bogeyed five of his first six holes and dropped back to 4-under par. A birdie at the par-5, 9th gave him a 4-over 40 on the front. He rallied with four birdies on his final six holes for a back nine 32. He is T10 heading into the last round.

Second-Round Notes

• A total of 60 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 2-under 140.

• Six of 14 Monday qualifiers made the cut this week -- Connor Arendell, Dustin Bray, Morgan Hoffman, Scott Langley, Ryan Nelson and Jin Park.

Oscar Serna came back to play 13 holes of his second round and wound up shooting a 5-under 66 to celebrate his daughter Natalia's 12th birthday. Serna's 6-under 29 on the back nine tied the lowest 9-hole score on the Nationwide Tour this year. He is the sixth player to post a 29 in 2012. Serna is from Leon, Mexico, and will play on his home course for next week's Mexico Open.

• 24 of the 25 leading money winners were entered this week and 13 advanced to play the final two rounds. Four of the top 10 missed the cut - No. 1 Luke List, No. 3 Paul Haley, No. 5 Alex Aragon and No. 8 Hudson Swafford.

• The Nationwide Tour will head to Leon, Mexico for next week's Mexico Open at the El Bosque Country Club June 4-10.

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