Ortiz maintains lead at South Georgia Classic
May 03, 2014
By Joe Chemycz, PGATOUR.COM
- If Carlos Ortiz wins on Sunday, he will earn a promotion to the PGA TOUR. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
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VALDOSTA, Ga. – Carlos Ortiz shot an even-par 72 and maintained his grip on the lead after 54 holes of the weather-delayed South Georgia Classic presented by First State Bank & Trust Co.
Ortiz stumbled late with a three-putt bogey in near darkness on the final hole and finished with a 12-under 204 total, one shot better than newcomer Adam Webb (65), Californian Max Webb (70) and Monday qualifier Rob Oppenheim (70).
Blayne Barber, who grew up about an hour away in Lake City, Fla., blitzed through the back nine of the Kinderlou Forest Golf Club in 6-under and finished with a 66 that put him in solo fifth, two off the pace. Ryan Amour (67) is alone in sixth place, three back of Ortiz, who held a three-shot lead when the weather-plagued second round finally came to a close shortly before noon Saturday.
“Today was a good day. I struggled on the back nine but I’m still there and that’s what matters,” said Ortiz, who is seeking his third win of the season. “I’m in position for tomorrow. I’m still there and that’s what I wanted, to be in contention on the last day.”
The final group of Ortiz, Homa and Oppenheim were scurrying on the inward nine to finish their round before they ran out of daylight.
“The pace picked up on the back nine and they started timing us on 15,” added Ortiz, who had a double bogey and two bogeys on the back. “Things got really quick and I struggled with that. It may have cost me two shots but I’m right there so it doesn’t matter.”
Ortiz started the round leading by three and was still up by that margin when he yanked his tee shot left on the 10th hole and the ball bounced off the cart path and into a hazard. His double-bogey six was his first over-par hole of the tournament and it gave new hope to a bundle of challengers, including his two playing partners.
Homa recovered from a double bogey at No. 12 that dropped him four off the pace but the former Cal All-America bounced back with a couple of birdies to close within one.
“That’s something I’ve been working on. I’m usually not great with the positivity,” he admitted. “My caddie told me to keep head up and not freak out about it. Honestly that was the most important thing. Regardless of how many birdies, I came back after that and my head was back in it. One bad hole isn’t going to ruin a tournament.”
The surprise of the day and the tournament is 26-year-old Adam Webb of Virginia who is making his first career start on Tour courtesy of a sponsor exemption. Webb, who has been on the e-golf Tour, posted a bogey-free 65 that vaulted him into contention.
“I’ve been playing well all year but my scores don’t necessarily show that,” he said. “I’ve won once and missed four cuts but the scores don’t show how you actually played. We played in some tough conditions this year.”
Webb move up the board by draining some good birdie putts but also tossed some iron shots inside of five feet and made the putting easier on himself, pretty good for a virtual unknown.
“I’ve played well since last year and I’ve just been waiting for my opportunity to shine,” he said. “It just happens to be this week so far. I’m not getting ahead of myself and just looking for to tomorrow.”
• Saturday weather: Clouds in the morning. Play suspended from 11:00 a.m. to noon due to threatening conditions in the area. Sunny in the afternoon. Wind NNW 8-16 mph. High of 80.
• Third-round play was in threesomes off the 1st and 10th tees. Times ran from 1:00-3:00 p.m.
• The final round was completed at 8:26 p.m.
• Lift, clean and place conditions were in effect for the third round, as they were for the first two rounds.
• Ortiz, 23, already has trophies from the Panama Claro Championship and the Mexico Open this year. A third victory would give him a promotion to the PGA TOUR for the rest of this year and also make him fully exempt on Tour for the 2014-15 season. A win Sunday would not, however, get him into THE PLAYERS Championship next week. He would be eligible to play in the HP Byron Nelson Classic the following week.
• Ortiz saw his bogey-free streak come to an end after 45 holes. Ortiz had some tree trouble off the 10th tee and had an unplayable lie. His third shot hit another tree and he was eventually forced to one-putt for a double-bogey six that dropped him back to 11-under and cut his three-shot lead down to one.
• Adam Webb gained a spot in this week’s event courtesy of a sponsor exemption through the E-golf Tour. Webb gained the exemption for his two-stroke win at the North Stone Open in Huntersville, NC in mid-March.
• Webb is making his first career start on the Web.com Tour. He has never played in a PGA TOUR event. There have 13 players in Tour history who were victorious in their first-ever start – the last to do it was Ben Kohles at the 2012 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational in Columbus, OH.
• Webb, 26, was born and raised in Ridgeway, Va., which is located in the south-center of the state along the North Carolina border. The 2000 census recorded a population of 775. The town is also home to the Martinsville Speedway, site of the STP 500 on the NASCAR circuit – which Kurt Busch won on March 30 of this year.
• Blayne Barber’s shot a 6-under 30 on the back nine despite hitting only 3 of 7 fairways. The former Auburn standout needed only 10 putts for the nine holes.
“It definitely surprised me,” he said. “I was frustrated through nine holes and felt like I was stagnant on the leaderboard and not able to get anything going. It all just came together.”
Barber yanked his tee shot at No. 18 and hit a provisional, just in case.
“I was about eight to ten paces from being out of bounds,” he said. “It was a lot closer than I wanted but then I go and make a 20-footer on the hole for birdie.”
• The second round resumed at 7:45 a.m. Saturday with half the field needing to complete play.
• The second round was suspended at 11:00 a.m. due to threatening conditions. A total of five groups (15 players) had not completed play – 2 groups on back/3 groups on front.
• Play resumed at noon and the round was completed at 12:30 p.m.
• A total of 77 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at even-par 144.
• Here’s what the leaderboard looked like when the second round was suspended due to darkness Friday night:
1. Carlos Ortiz 10-under thru 12 2. Max Homa 135 (-9) 3. Andrew Putnam 7-under thru 12* 4. Alex Prugh
• Here’s what the leaderboard looked like when the second round was completed:
1. Carlos Ortiz 132 (-12) 2. Max Homa
4. Andrew Putnam 137 (-7) 5. Alex Prugh
• This was the first time this year that Carlos Ortiz has held/shared the second-round lead. He was part of a three-way tie for first place after the opening round. The only other time he has been at the top of the standings came after 54 holes of the Mexico Championship, where he shared the lead at 9-under with Nathan Green.
• Ortiz was the only player in the field without a bogey through 36 holes.
• Ortiz’ two-round total of 12-under 132 is the lowest opening-36 in the tournament’s eight-year history. He broke the mark of 11-under 133 set by David Hearn in 2010.
• Ortiz’ three-stroke lead at the halfway mark tied the tournament record for the largest 36-hole lead set by Jon Mills in 2011.
• This is the fourth straight year that the 36-hole cut was at even-par 144.
• Andres Echavarria withdrew during the second round.
• Six of 12 Monday qualifiers made the 36-hole cut:
Kent Bulle 70-70-70—210 (-6) T13 Johnny Del Prete 76-77—153 (+9) m/c Mike Drake 75-70—145 (+1) m/c Seth Fair 69-70-76—215 (-1) T49 J.T. Griffin 72-78—150 (+6) m/c Nicholas Lindheim 73-69-70—212 (-4) T27 Justin Lower 71-71-71—213 (-3) T36 Joey McLister 72-75—147 (+3) m/c Mike Miller 68-71-70—209 (-7) T10 Rob Oppenheim 69-66-70—205 (-11) T2 Drew Perry 72-73—145 (+1) m/c Chris Scialo 79-72—151 (+7) m/c
• Max Homa finished T6 at the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament to earn status on Tour this year. Homa is making his fourth start of the season – he finished T51 at the Panama Claro Championship, T47 at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open and then missed the cut at the Mexico Championship.
• Homa, 23, graduated from the University of California-Berkeley last year. He was the 2013 NCAA Individual NCAA Champion for the Bears and a First Team All-America.
• Homa’s only previous start on Tour came at the 2013 Mylan Classic last year. He missed the cut while competing as an amateur.
• Homa has made eight starts on the 2013-14 PGA TOUR and made the cut four times. His career got off to a terrific start with a T9 finish at the Frys.com Open last October and earned $135,000. That was his only top-25 finish. Homa finished T48 at last week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans and thus came up short of the FedExCup points he needed to attain Special Temporary Membership this season after exhausting all of his available (7) sponsor exemptions.
He will play full-time on the Web.com Tour for the rest of the year in an effort to gain TOUR status for next season.
• Players who have posted bogey-free rounds this week:
R1: 67 – Carlos Ortiz; 68 – Andrew Putnam, Blayne Barber; 69 – Miguel Angel Carballo; 70 – Ryuji Imada, John Kimbell; 71 – Kyle Stough
R2: 65 – Carlos Ortiz; 66 – Rob Oppenheim; 68 – Jimmy Gunn, Cameron Percy, Tag Ridings, Chris Baker, Nathan Tyler; 69 – Jason Allred, Ryan Spears; 70 – Peter Lonard, Andrew Georgiou
R3: 65 – Adam Webb; 67 – Ryan Armour, Derek Fathauer; 68 – Andy Pope; 70 – Kelly Kraft
NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour will be idle next week and return May 12-18 for the BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, S.C.