Kendall, Svoboda share lead after 54 holes of opener

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Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Co-leader Skip Kendall is chasing his fourth-career Nationwide Tour victory.
February 18, 2012
Joe Chemycz, Nationwide Tour staff

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Skip Kendall and Andrew Svoboda each posted seven birdies Saturday and share the lead heading into the final round at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship, but they share little else when it comes to the game of golf. The pair are tied at 10-under 203 after three trips around the Country Club of Bogota, one in front of Kirk Triplett, who matched the course record with a 7-under 64.

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Charles Warren (66) and James Hahn (67) are at 7-under 206 and tied for fourth place. Four more players -- Brian Stuard (67), Andy Bare (68), Andres Gonzales (68) and rookie Hudson Swafford (70) -- are four back of the co-leaders.

Second-round leader Billy Horschel hit his tee shot on the first hole out of bounds and wound up with a quadruple-bogey en route to a 5-over 76. He is tied for 10th at 5-under with D.J. Brigman (70) and Brian Smock (74).

"It was real solid today," Kendall said. "I started putting better. I worked on my grip a little bit and made a little change and it seemed to work."

Kendall kept his mistakes to a minimum, just as he has done all week and waited for his chances. Four birdies in a five-hole stretch got him into contention, though he admitted he doesn't have the "extra gear" when it comes to his game.

"I've been at this long enough to know that I'm not that good," he laughed. "I just try to play as well as I can and hopefully it's good enough. I'm definitely not Tiger Woods, or some of the other guys now."

Svoboda rustled up three birdies in his first four holes to join the leaders.

"I saw that Billy didn't get off to a good start so I knew that I just had to hang in there," he said. "Nobody was going super deep."

Svoboda assumed control with three more birdies on Nos. 10, 12 and 13. The one at the par-3, 12th was "a 50-footer with eight feet of break."

He held sole possession of the lead until a three-putt bogey at the par-5, 18th.

"I hit it really good," he said. "I was hitting it right where I was looking all day. I hit a few bad wedges coming in but that was about it. I putted pretty well, too."

Chasing them is Triplett, who was bogey-free during his move up the board.

"I was playing a little conservative the first two days," said Triplett, who captured the 2011 Knoxville News Sentinel Open to become the oldest winner in Tour history. " It's the kind of course where you're going to get some good chances, so just stay away from those tough, tucked pins and wait your turn. Patience is easy to talk about, it's much harder to have."

Interview: Andrew Svoboda

Andrew Svoboda talks about his play in the 2012 Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship.

Sunday's closer will be a stark contrast in resumes for the co-leaders.

Kendall, grew up in Wisconsin, played college golf in Las Vegas and now calls Florida home. Svoboda is 32 and has spent his entire life in New York, including his college days at St. John's University, where reigning PGA Champion Keegan Bradley graduated as well.

Kendall is a 47-year old veteran with 591 combined starts on the PGA TOUR and the Nationwide Tour. He has earned more than $9 million during a career that includes a pair of Nationwide Tour victories. Svoboda has all of 60 career starts on the Nationwide Tour under his belt, has never finished better than a tie for seventh and has cashed paychecks for about $270,000, or about 3% of Kendall's total.

Kendall has held or share the lead after a round 26 times in his career. Svoboda shared a first-round lead once -- the 2010 Miccosukee Championship, where wound up T8.

Third-Round Notes:

• Saturday's weather: Mostly sunny in the morning and mostly cloudy in the afternoon. High of 66. Winds NW 5-10 mph. Thunderstorms just after play concluded at 3 p.m.

• Sunday's tee times will run from 8-10 a.m. Play will be in threesomes off the 1st and 10th tees with an expected finish time of 3 p.m.

• Second-round leader Billy Horschel started the day at 10-under par and in front by two. He dropped out the lead early in round three with a quadruple-bogey-8 on the first hole. Horschel's tee shot went out of bounds left. His next tee shot wound up in the trees to the right (laying 3). He punched a 5-iron just short of the green (4). He then chipped on the green (5) and three-putted (8) to drop to 6-under par. Horschel played the next 17 holes in 1-over par for a round of 75.

Kirk Triplett will turn 50 on March 29 and become eligible to join the Champions Tour.

"When I go out there and play on the Champions Tour I hope to be competitive, which means hitting shots in pressure situations," he said. "Hitting balls on the range or playing at home with the buddies, there's some of that but not enough and that's why I came down here and played. I think I'm more willing to test myself and see what I can do instead of when I was in contention on the regular Tour."

• Earlier in the week, former President Bill Clinton was in town to play in the Wednesday Pro-Am. D.J. Brigman, the Chairman of the Nationwide Tour Players Advisory Council, had the honor playing with President Clinton and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Joining them were Jose Francisco Arata, the president and executive director of Pacific Rubiales Energy, the tournament sponsor, and German Calle, the tournament executive director. Brigman has carded rounds of 69-69-70 and is T10 heading the final round.

• Lift, clean and place conditions were in effect for rounds one and two but NOT for round three.

Front 9 (35) Back 9 (36) Total (71)
Round 1 35.750 36.792 72.542
Round 2 35.307 35.978 71.285
Round3 34.616 36.658 71.274

• Scoring averages for the week:

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