Reifers takes 54-hole lead at Chitimacha Louisiana Open
March 29, 2014
By Joe Chemycz, PGATOUR.COM
- Kyle Reifers moved into the lead on Saturday with a 5-under 66. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
BROUSSARD, La. – Kyle Reifers posted a bogey-free 5-under 66 Saturday and moved into the lead at the 23rd Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by Nacher. Reifers’ 12-under 201 total is one stroke better than Blayne Barber and Brett Stegmaier, who each carded 65s during the windy third round at the Le Triomphe Country Club.
Steve Saunders, Justin Thomas, Andres Echavarria, Sebastian Vazquez and 2010 champion Fabian Gomez of Argentina share fourth place, two shots back.
Another seven players are jammed together at 9-under and only three off the lead. Sunday might be a shootout as 27 players are within five of the lead, which means it’s anybody’s tournament to win.
Overnight rains softened the course and offset the windy conditions outside Lafayette and compacted an already jammed leaderboard.
“I had a pretty good feel for what was going on out there,” said Reifers, who didn’t look at the board until he finished. “I didn’t think anybody was going to run away from me so I was just plotting a way to give myself birdie looks and see where it takes you.”
Reifers, a first-day co-leader following a 65, jumped into the fray with birdies on his first two holes and then settled back and relied on his putter.
“I made a lot of nice five to six footers and a couple of 3 ½ footers with crosswinds that normally aren’t that big of a deal but were a little bit tougher with the wind today,” he said after a 26-putt effort. “All in all, just a pretty solid round. I like the way I’m rolling it.”
Reifers teed off more than an hour before the 36-hole leaders but his flawless work held up as several challengers stumbled on their way to the clubhouse.
Alabama’s Justin Thomas grabbed a share of the lead at 11-under with consecutive birdies at the turn but played the final seven holes in one-over par. Florida’s T.J. Vogel also had a share of the lead after an eagle at the par-5, 12th but finished with two bogeys in his last four holes to fall to 9-under.
Zack Sucher’s birdie at No. 15 gave him a share of the lead with Reifers but the former UAB standout closed with three straight bogeys and is T9.
Second-round leader Jonathan Randolph started at 11-under and one in front of the pack but never really got untracked and played the front in one-over par.
“I was just trying to make pars and maybe roll in a putt,” he said. “I’ve been putting really, really well and I had a couple of three-putts on the front nine and that halted all the momentum.”
Randolph, an Ole Miss grad, birdied Nos. 11 and 12 and thought he might be able to turn the day around.
“This game’s cruel. You barely miss a shot out here and you can make a really fast bogey,” he said. “The pins got tougher and I was a little too conservative,” he said. “I didn’t commit to enough shots today. The wind was blowing really hard out of a different direction and I got a little defensive.”
Despite the 2-over 73, Randolph is only three back of Reifers heading into Sunday’s finale. In a strange twist, Reifers teed off at 11:50 a.m. and Randolph at 1:00 p.m. for round three – the standings fell in such a way that they’ll switch tee times for tomorrow’s closer.
Third-Round Notes & Quotes:
• Saturday weather: A mix of sun and clouds. Winds NNE 12-20 mph. Daytime high of 72.
• Lift, clean and place conditions were in effect for the third round, just as they were for rounds one and two.
• Fourth-round play will be in twosomes off the first tee. Times will run from 7:52 am to 1:00 pm CT.
• This is Kyle Reifers’ sixth start in Lafayette. He finished T48, T15, T68 and T2 in his first four starts from 2007-10 but missed the cut last year after posting scores of 72-70.
• Reifers is making his 141st career start on the Web.com Tour. He finished T3 at the Chile Classic and then missed the cut the following week at the Brazil Champions in Sao Paulo.
• Reifers’ lone win on Tour came in his first career start at the 2006 Chattanooga Classic. Shortly after graduating from Wake Forest Univeristy, Reifers turned pro and promptly won two weeks later, thanks to an 11-under 61 in the final round at Black Creek Club. He finished at 26-under and defeated Brandt Snedeker in a playoff.
• Blayne Barber finished T6 in this event last year, which is his only previous start in Lafayette.
• Barber posted scores of 67-69-65 and was at 12-under 201 after three rounds. Barber has carded rounds of 69-68-65 and is at 11-under 202 this time around. The former Auburn All-American shot an even-par 71 in the final round in 2013.
• Brett Stegmaier posted scores of 72-71 last year and missed the cut in his only previous start in Lafayette.
• Stegmaier had a hole-in-one at the 159-yard, 8th hole using an 8-iron. It was the second ace on that hole this week. It was also Stegmaier’s fourth career ace but his first in competition.
• Alabama All-America Justin Thomas has put himself in prime position for another solid finish. The 20-year-old rookie is currently No. 12 on the money list thanks to three top-15 finishes to begin the season. He started the year with a T5 at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship and followed that up with a T12 at the Chile Classic and a T15 at last week’s Panama Claro Championship.
• Two-time champion Brett Wetterich moved up in the standings with a bogey-free, 5-under 66 that put him at 8-under 205 and T16. Wetterich won in 2003 and 2011 and was solo third last year. He is the tournament’s all-time money leader with $230,725 in eight previous starts.
• Players who posted bogey-free rounds this week:
R1 – 67 - Andres Echavarria; 68 - T.J. Vogel; 70 – Bubba Dickerson
R2 – 64 – Bill Lunde; 65 – Sebastain Vazquez, Bronson Burgoon, Max Homa, Derek Gillespie; 66 – Ash Hall, Philip Pettitt Jr.; 67 – Jason Gore, Chris Epperson, Fabian Gomez
R3 – 65 – Blayne Barber, Brett Stegmaier; 66 – Kyle Reifers, Brett Wetterich; 69 – Hugo Leon, Casey Wittenberg
• Best rounds of the day:
65 – Blayne Barber, Matt Boyd, Steve Saunders, Brett Stegmaier
66 – Kyle Reifers, Brett Wetterich