Daily Wrap-up: Round 3, Puerto Rico OpenMarch 12, 2011
Staff and wire reports
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico -- Troy Matteson shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday in the Puerto Rico Open to open a three-shot lead as he goes after the third PGA TOUR victory.
Fourteen players were separated by only three shots going into the third round at Trump International Golf Club. Matteson seized control by matching the best score of the day, finishing with seven birdies and a bogey to reach 16 under.
"There's so many birdies to be made out here, three shots is nothing," said Matteson, who opened with consecutive 67s. "You've got to go out there and make birdies and try to shoot another low score. And I think that's why people like this golf course. There's a lot of birdie opportunities, couple of eagle opportunities.
"We like coming to places where we can make birdies."
The 31-year-old former Georgia Tech player is in the last year of his exemption from winning the Frys.com Open at the end of the 2009 season. He also won in 2006 and has two Nationwide Tour victories.
"I think it's an advantage, but I haven't won enough out here to not be a little nervous, and most guys would be nervous," Matteson said. "Tomorrow, I'm just going to go out and try to do the same things I did the first couple days. I'm going to try to hit solid shots, give myself looks at birdie."
Hunter Haas was second after his second straight 68.
Shot of the Day
Troy Matteson knocks in this long birdie on the 8th hole.
"I got off to a pretty good start," said Haas, a two-time winner last year on the Nationwide Tour. "Seems like a lot of people are making birdies on the front, and on the back it's kind of just hold on."
Michael Bradley was third at 12 under after a 68.
Trump International: Saturday EASIEST HOLE TOUGHEST HOLE The par-5 2nd hole was the easiest with a Saturday scoring average of 4.471.
EAGLES: 1 BIRDIES: 37 PARS: 30 BOGEYS: 2 OTHER: 0
The par-4 14th hole was the toughest with a Saturday scoring average of 4.143.
EAGLES: 0 BIRDIES: 9 PARS: 44
BOGEYS: 16 OTHERS: 1
About the leaders • Through the first three rounds, Troy Matteson leads the field in Greens Hit (45 of 54, 83.3%) • Matteson finished T31 in his only other start in the Puerto Rico Open (2009). • Matteson finished 128th on the 2010 PGA TOUR money list, after four straight years finishing inside the top 125. • Matteson missed his last three cuts entering the Puerto Rico Open. He has made three of eight cuts this season. • If Matteson goes on to victory he would record the ninth win by a player in their 30s. Jhonattan Vegas and Aaron Baddeley, both in their 20s, are the only other two winners on TOUR this year. • This is the first time in 74 starts on TOUR (196 rounds) that Hunter Haas has recorded three consecutive rounds in the 60s. • Haas' only top 10 on TOUR came at the 2005 BellSouth Classic (T10). • Haas has made six of eight cuts on TOUR this season. In his rookie year on TOUR in 2001, Haas made only eight of 30 cuts. • Haas won two events on the Nationwide Tour last year (Price Cutter Charity Championship and Albertsons Boise Open). • Michael Bradley was tied for the third-round lead at the 2009 Puerto Rico Open before claiming the victory. • Bradley missed his last four cuts coming into this week. His only made cut was in his first start of the year at the Bob Hope Classic (T22). • Coming into the week, Bradley's last nine rounds were in the 70s. He opened the season with all five rounds in the 60s at the Bob Hope Classic. • After winning here in 2009, Bradley finished T15 in 2010.
Stewart Cink was 5 under after a 74.