SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Washington’s Alex Prugh fired a 4-under 68 Saturday and moved into the lead after three rounds of the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper. Prugh wasn’t perfect but his 16-under 200 total netted him a two-stroke lead heading into Sunday’s finale.
Daniel Chopra (66), first-round leader Andrew Svoboda (66), Fernando Mechereffe (67) and 36-hole co-leader Hunter Haas (70) share second place at 14-under par. Jason Gore (66) is 13-under and alone in sixth place.
“It seemed like one of those scrambling rounds,” said Prugh, who will be looking for his second career title. “I was pretty fortunate to get 4-under out of it.”
Prugh hit only half of the fairways but hit 15 greens and saved par a couple of times as gave himself a little breathing room.
“I missed a couple of birdie putts coming in but at the same time I got that gift at 17,” said Prugh of a 50-foot birdie putt that tumbled into the hole. “I almost had to have the pin tended. I just took a whack at it. It went left and with the last rotation it went it. I just started laughing, there’s nothing you can do. It’s just a bonus shot.”
Moving day at Highland Springs Country Club had a lot of players moving forward, but nobody rocketing from the group. The lowest round turned in was a 6-under 66 and the result is that there are 19 players within five shots of Prugh, who stands No. 14 on the money list but projects to move to No. 5 with a victory.
“I’m playing with house money right now,” he said. “Everything is a bonus from here until the (Finals) start. If I win that’s great but what’s the worst that is going to happen? It’s Saturday, the pressure time comes tomorrow.”
Haas, who seems to own this course over the years, struggled off the tee and headed quickly to the driving range after his round to work out some kinks with his driver.
“It was a struggle today,” said Haas. “I really couldn’t get it going after the sixth hole. I missed four or five tee shots to the left which I haven’t been doing and I still don’t know what I’m doing.”
Haas’ rollercoaster day -- six birdies and four bogeys – was highlighted by his par-5 at the 542-yard, 18th. He yanked his tee shot left but the ball bounced off the cart path and into the fairway, leaving him only an 8-iron into the green.
His eagle putt from 30 feet came up 5 feet short and he missed his birdie try, keeping him from solo second place.
“Two-under par and you’re frustrated,” said Haas, who has been under par at Highland Springs in 33 of 35 career rounds. “I’m not out of it but the finish there at the last hole leaves a sour taste in my mouth.”
• Saturday weather: Mostly sunny. Overnight low of 68. Daytime high of 83. Winds NE 7-15.
• Sunday's forecast doesn’t include a high chance of rain and play will be in twosomes off the first tee. Tee times will run from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. with an expected finish of 4:45 p.m.
• Lift, clean and place conditions were in effect for the third round.
• This is the second time this year that Alex Prugh has been atop the leaderboard after 54 holes. He shared the lead at the Mexico Championship but an even-par 72 left him tied for second and two shots back of winner Michael Putnam.
• Prugh has one career win to date. He won the 2009 Michael Hill New Zealand Open after firing an 8-under 64 in the final round to win by three shots.
• Winning on Sunday will be nothing new to many of the top players on the leaderboard. Several have collected championship trophies in their career:
• Hunter Haas, the 2010 champion, is making his ninth career start in this event and he is now a perfect 9-for-9 in making the cut.
Haas now has completed 35 rounds at Highland Springs CC and he has posted sub-par scores 33 times. His career scoring average is 68.67. This is his first start at the PCCC since his victory three years ago.
• Haas has made the cut in 10 of 13 previous starts this year and has a pair of top-10 finishes to his credit -- a T7 at the United Leasing Championship presented by PTI and a T6 at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft. He is No. 52 on the money list.
• Alex Prugh has made the cut in eight of his previous 16 starts this year. He had a hot stretch earlier this summer when he finished T2 at the Mexico Open, T6 at the Mid-Atlantic Championship and solo 3rd at the Air Capital Classic in consecutive weeks. He is No. 14 on the money list.
• Miguel Carballo has made the cut in 11 of 18 starts this year. He tied for seventh at the WNB Golf Classic in mid-April and tied for fifth at the Stadion Classic at UGA in early May. He has not finished better than T49 in his last nine starts and is No. 49 on the money list.
• Daniel Chopra fired a bogey-free 66 to finish at 14-under 202. Chopra hit 10 of 14 fairways in Round 3 after hitting a total of 11 in the first two rounds (seven in Rd. 1, four in Rd. 2). He has hit 13 of 18 greens in each of the first three rounds. Chopra has made the cut in 11 of 17 starts this year (including this week). He opened the year with four straight top-20 finishes and later added a T3 at the Mid-Atlantic Championship. He came into the week No. 31 on the money list.
• First-round leader Andrew Svoboda bounced back from a second-round 72 with a 6-under 66 in Round 3 to get back into contention. Svoboda chalked up five birdies in a seven-hole stretch (Nos. 8-14) to make a run at the leaders. He is at 14-under par 202.
• Jason Gore chalked up his second straight, 6-under 66 Saturday and moved into contention at 13-under 203. Gore needed to finish up 8 holes in Round 2 before turning around for the third round. He’ll head into Sunday’s finale in search of his eighth career win on Tour.
“It’s good to have a chance going into Sunday. You had to pay attention to the wind today. I just hit the one bad shot on 17 and it cost me a bogey,” said Gore, whose seven career wins are the most in Tour history.
Gore has made the cut in 12 of his 16 starts but has yet to crack the top-10. His best weeks came at the Mid-Atlantic Championship (T11), the Mexico Open (T12) and the Chitimacha Louisiana Open (T13).
• Low rounds of the day: 66 – Brad Adamonis, Daniel Chopra, Andy Svoboda, Jason Gore, Roland Thatcher, Brett Stegmaier
• A total of 74 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 5-under 139.
• None of the 74 players who made the cut posted an over-par score in either the first or second round.
• This marked the sixth straight year that that 36-hole cut came at 5-under par.
• Matt Bettencourt was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.
• Hers is how the leaderboard looked after completion of the second round:
|Leaders after 36 holes|
• Monday qualifier Cameron Smith matched the tournament back-nine record with a 7-under 29. Smith couldn’t continue his success on the front nine, shooting a 2-over 38 for a 67 and a 7-under 137 total.
• Six of 12 Monday qualifiers made the 36-hole cut:
|Monday qualifiers making the 36-hole cut|
• Defending champion Chris Wilson posted scores of 71-71—142 and missed the cut.
• Course statistics for the week:
|Statistics for Highland Springs CC|
• The Web.com Tour returns to Knoxville, Tenn. for next week’s News Sentinel Open. The tournament will be held at the Fox Den Country Club August 15-18.