Sucher leads by three at Midwest Classic
July 26, 2014
By Joe Chemycz, PGATOUR.COM
- Zack Sucher's three shots ahead of Aaron Watkins after three rounds. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Alabama’s Zack Sucher continued his torrid assault on par at the Web.com Tour’s Midwest Classic with a 7-under 64 Saturday that kept him at the top of the standings and that much closer to his first career win.
The 27-year old from Birmingham, Ala., mashed together eight birdies in an 10-hole stretch midway through his round and pulled away from all but one of his challengers.
Sucher’s 20-under 193 put him three shots in front of Kansas State grad Aaron Watkins, who kept pace with the second-rounder leader by posting a 64 of his own.
Jason Gore birdied his final hole for a 3-under 68 and is alone in third, six shots off the lead. Bill Lunde (66) is fourth and seven back heading into Sunday’s finale.
After making the cut on the number (-1), Tom Hoge let the field know that the golf course was ripe for the picking when he went out and matched the course record with an 11-under-par 60 that put him at 12-under 201.
Hoge was in the third group of the day and finished 11-birdie, no-bogey effort about two hours before the 36-hole leaders went to the first tee. He was eventually joined by Aron Price (63), Rod Pampling (64) and Shane Bertsch (66) in a tie for fifth.
Australian Jarrod Lyle continued his solid play with a late-charging, 3-under 68. Lyle, who is recovering from a second battle with leukemia, is making his first competitive start in the United States in almost 2 ½ years.
The 32-year-old part-time resident of Orlando was 2-over for his first 11 holes Saturday but closed with a flourish. Lyle chalked up birdies at Nos. 12, 15 and 16 before dunking his second shot for an eagle-2 at the par-4 finishing hole for a back-nine 31.
The late rush pushed him to 9-under par total and T23.
Saturday was about making birdies and avoiding birdies. A brief thunderstorm moved through the Kansas City area around midday and softened the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate just enough to leave it vulnerable to another onslaught of red numbers.
Saturday’s scoring average of 67.792 was 3.44 strokes lower than Friday’s average.
Nine of the top 14 players on the leaderboard were bogey-free for the third round and the group was a combined 98-under par for the day – 3 eagles, 100 birdies, 6 bogeys and 1 double bogey.
The biggest mistake of the leaders belonged to Sucher, who penciled in a 6 on the first hole after his second shot from an unpleasant lie smacked into a mud bank and traveled five feet backwards. A chip out, followed by an equally bad wedge shot left him 65 feet from the cup.
“It’s hard to find something positive when you start out with a double,” he said. “I guess it was a really good two-putt.”
As he moved to the second tee, Sucher was reminded by his caddie that he leads the Tour in birdies.
“It was time to make some,” he said. “I hit it close on the next hole to get headed back in the right direction.”
Sucher missed four birdie putts of the 12-20 foot range on his next five holes before his flag hunting paid off.
“My irons were really good today, probably better than they were yesterday,” he said. “The pins weren’t so hard that you couldn’t get close to them. The greens are soft and if you’re hitting the ball well you can get to any of them.”
Sucher nearly got to all of them. His misstep at the first hole was the only green he missed on the day.
Zack Sucher leads by three at Midwest Classic
THIRD ROUND NOTES:
• Saturday weather: Partly cloudy with scattered storms. Total rainfall 0.10”. Play suspended from 11:31 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. (49 minutes). Wind SSW 6-12 mph. High of 94. Heat index of 103.
• Sunday’s play will be in twosomes off the 1st tee. Times will run from 8:00 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. with an expected finish time of 6:00 p.m. CT.
• Zack Sucher owns the 54-hole lead for the first time in his Web.com Tour career.
• Sucher’s three-day total of 193 betters his previous best of 195 (18-under) at last week’s Albertsons Boise Open where he eventually finished T4.
• Sucher’s 54-hole score of 193 ties the second-best on Tour this year. Jon Curran was at 23-under 190 after three rounds of the Brasil Champions.
• Sucher’s 127 total in the second and third rounds (63-64/15-under) also matches the second-lowest 36-hole total on Tour this year. Jon Curran posted scores of 61-64—125 in the first and second rounds of the Brasil Champions.
• Sucher’s best career finish is a T2 at the 2013 South Georgia Classic in Valdosta where he was a Monday qualifier.
• Sucher’s 20-under score matches the tournament mark of 193 set by James Nitties when he won the tournament in 2011. Nitties led by one that year and went on to shoot 65 in the final round and win by five shots.
• Aaron Watkins’ 54-hole score of 193 betters his previous best 54-hole score of 197 (16-under) at the 2010 Cox Classic in Omaha.
• Watkins’ 7-under 64 today also betters his previous best third-round score. Watkins posted 65’s three times in his career – the 2010 Cox Classic, 2011 Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open and the 2012 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational.
• Tom Hoge’s 11-under 60 is a career-low score on the Web.com Tour. His previous best was an 8-under 63 in the second round at the 2013 BMW Charity Pro-Am at Thornblade Club.
• Hoge’s 60 today ties the lowest round on the Web.com Tour this year. Zack Sucher posted an 11-under 60 in the opening round of last week’s Albertsons Boise Open.
• Hoge’s 60 today tied the competitive course record set by Scott Dunlap in the second round in 2011. Dunlap ran off two five-hole stretches of consecutive birdies during his round – Nos. 3-7 and 12-16 and then added his 11th birdie of the day on the final hole.
• Hoge is the 21st player in the Tour’s 25-year history to shoot a 60 during competition. There have also been five 59s posted since the Tour’s inception in 1990.
• Jason Gore has played the first 54 holes without a bogey. He finished up his final five holes at last week’s Albertsons Boise Open without a bogey, giving him a current run of 59 bogey-free holes.
• Bogey-free rounds this week:
65 – Sebastian Cappelen, Mark Hubbard
66 – Derek Fathauer, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, Henrik Norlander
67 – Jarrod Lyle, Aaron Watkins
68 – Jason Gore, Aron Price
63 – Jason Gore
66 – Steve LeBrun
60 – Tom Hoge
63 – Aron Price, Darron Stiles, D.J. Trahan
64 – Aaron Watkins
65 – Harold Varner, Jonathan Randolph
66 – Bill Lunde, Derek Fathauer
67 – Sam Saunders
68 – Jason Gore, Kyle Thompson, James Nitties
69 – Tom Gilllis
• Scoring Averages for the week:
Front (35) Back (36) Total (71) Round 1 35.391 35.615 71.006 Round 2 35.581 35.652 71.232 Round 3 33.972 33.819 67.792
• NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour heads west for the Stonebrae Championship at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, Calif., July 28-Aug. 3. The tournament was on hiatus in 2013 due to the construction of a new clubhouse. The tournament was held from 2009-2012 with Michael Sim, Kevin Chappell, Daniel Chopra and Alex Aragon collecting the titles. The total purse will be $600,000 with $108,000 going to the winner.