LeBrun, Fritsch share the third-round lead at BMWMay 19, 2012
Royce Thompson, Nationwide Tour staff
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Steve LeBrun vaulted up the leaderboard today firing a 5-under 67 at Greenville Country Club's Chanticleer Course, the most challenging of the three courses, in the third round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation. The round puts him at 203, 12-under par for the tournament.
Not to be outdone, Brad Fritsch took advantage of the continued soft conditions at Carolina Country Club, carding a 4-under 68 to grab a share of the lead with LeBrun heading into the final round.
Five players are 11 under, one shot back of the leaders. Those players are James Hahn (69), Alex Prugh (66), 2007 BMW Charity Pro-Am champion Nick Flanagan (67), Robert Streb (70) and Andy Pope (70).
Australian Cameron Percy, the second-round leader, had a roller coaster day on the challenging Chanticleer Course. Percy's 75 dropped him into a tie for eighth with Tyrone Van Aswegan of South Africa, two shots off the pace at 10 under.
In Sunday's final round all participants including the 14 leading Pro-Am teams that made the cut will play the host course, Thornblade Club, one more time.
"Just a solid day," LeBrun said. "I bogeyed my first hole but hung in there like I have all week. I'm not hitting it the best but my short game is keeping me in there."
After his opening bogey the Florida native capitalized on a few missed shots. He didn't like his tee shot on No. 16 (his seventh hole) from the start but a fortunate bounce led to a birdie that jump started his round.
"I knew it was a poor shot," LeBrun said of his tee shot. "But it hit in the rough and started trickling down and finished six inches away for a tap in. It was a bad shot that worked out great, which makes you feel pretty good."
Currently 67th on the Nationwide Tour money list, LeBrun proceeded to card four more birdies in his round. He knows what his miss is and believes he is heading in the right direction to correct it.
"I've been playing good all year," he said. "My miss is a shot to the right. It happened on that par-3 but it's dwindling down, so we're getting there."
Tied with LeBrun at 12-under is Canada's Fritsch. The Alberta native, who now calls North Carolina home, played Carolina Country Club today and knew the importance of taking advantage of the conditions.
"Everyone knows that of the three courses this is the one where you need to score the best," Fritsch said.
The Campbell University alum got off to a slow start with a bogey on No. 12, his third hole of the day. He followed it with a par from the middle of the fairway on No. 13. He then hit three straight approach shots to three feet starting at the 14th, but only converted two of them for birdie.
After birdies on the first and sixth holes, the 34-year-old three putted the 8th hole for bogey but bounced back nicely on the ninth with a very difficult approach into the green.
"Yeah that was pretty big," Fritsch said. "If it was not on that little down slope then it would have been fine. But it was on that down slope in the rough and it was shooting out of there pretty good, I just made sure to get it over the water and go from there."
After his ball safely landed at the back of the green he managed a long up and down for birdie after three putting the previous hole.
"Fortunately I was able to get it up and down," Fritsch said. "It was probably 90-feet on the first putt. So that was good."
In order to get his first win on the Nationwide Tour, Fritsch believes the key tomorrow is finishing strong down the stretch.
"You have two par-5s in 15 and 16, and two really good holes in the par-3 17th and the really difficult par-4 18th, he said. "It's probably going to come down to the last three or four holes."
A few guys that could come from behind and take advantage of those last few holes are former BMW champion Nick Flanagan, who had a bogey-free round that included an eagle at No. 4, and Alex Prugh, who also had a bogey-free round.
• The four players atop the leader board entering the third round (1-Cameron Percy, T2-Aaron Watkins, Reid Edstrom and Darron Stiles) were a collective 10 over on their front nine today. At even par, their back nine play was much improved.
• Among those missing the cut (-4 made it) was leading money winner Luke List. His two-under-par 215 total missed by two.
• Andy Matthews battled a case of food poisoning and shot a 4-over 76 in round three to miss the cut by four.
• Andy Pope, who played with Andy Matthews, got off to a great start with birdies on his first three holes of the round. He ran into some trouble on eight with a three-putt bogey followed by a double-bogey on the par-5 9th. He finished the round at 2-under 70, good for T3. The Xavier University Musketeer currently has conditional status and is looking to make enough money to improve on that before the reshuffle following the conclusion of The Rex Hospital Open in two weeks.
• Fabian Gomez, who finished runner-up in a playoff at this event in 2009 and sixth in 2010, charged back up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64 at Thornblade Club today. Gomez' round included 10 birdies. He jumped up from T91 after 36 holes to T22 heading into Sunday's final round.
• Justin Hicks made a costly triple-bogey on his 18th hole (No. 9). He was 10-under par playing his last hole and wound up T22.
• Martin Piller had a pair of eagles during his round at Greenville CC. Piller eagled the par-5 7th and 17th holes. He wound up shooting an even-par 72 for a 3-under 212 total, but missed the cut by one stroke.
• Paul Claxton shot an even-par 71 at Thornblade Club to wind up at 3-under 212 and miss the cut by one stroke. Claxton had been a perfect 8-for-8 this year, matching his career-best stretch for consecutive cuts made.
• Seven of the top-10 Nationwide Tour money winners were entered this week and surprisingly all seven missed the 54-hole cut. That group includes Luke List (No. 1), Andrew Svoboda (No. 4), Alex Aragon (No. 5), Paul Claxton (No. 6), Hudson Swafford (No. 7), Skip Kendall (No. 8) and Brian Stuard (No. 9). The remaining three from the top-10 -- Andres Gonzales (No. 2), Paul Haley (No. 3) and Edward Loar (No. 10) - are competing at this week's PGA TOUR stop at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, where Gonzales and Haley received sponsor exemptions. Gonzales is in the top-20 after 54 holes in Dallas, while Haley and Loar both missed the 36-hole cut on Friday.
Charles Warren (2002) 69-74-72215 (E) M/C Nick Flanagan(2007) 67-70-67204 (-11) T3 Michael Sim (2009) 76-69-74219 (+3) M/C Justin Hicks (2010) 71-66-71209 (-7) T22
• Four past champions are in the field this week:
Brent Delahoussaye 67-67-72--206 T10 Brian Duncan 75-73-67--215 M/C Elliot Gealy 75-72-79--226 M/C Matt Hendrix 74-71-71--216 M/C Kevin Johnson 73-67-77--217 M/C Ben Martin 74-70-74--218 M/C David May 71-72-66--209 T32 Sam Saunders 66-71-69--206 T10 Charles Warren 69-74-72--215 M/C Frank Wrenn IV 78-75-70--223 M/C
• There were 10 former Clemson University players in the field this week but only three will play on Sunday:
• Players who were bogey free in the third round:
66 -- Alex Prugh (CC), David May (GV) 67 -- Nick Flanagan (CC) 68 -- Zack Byrd (GV), Nicholas Thompson (CC) 69 -- James Hahn (GV), Scott Parel (CC)
Round Thornblade Club (host)/71 Greenville CC/72 Carolina CC/72 R1 70.073 72.714 70.411 R2 70.964 72.909 70.857 R3 71.286 71.857 70.945
• Scoring averages for the week:
• Fourteen celebrity/amateur teams qualified to play one more round at Thornblade tomorrow to determine a winner in the Pro-Am.
The leaders are: 1 - Fabian Gomez & Brian Todd (-32) 2 - Aaron Watkins & Ken Wood (-28)
The following celebrity teams advanced:
8 - Martin Piller & Andy Buckley (-24) T9 - Derek Fathauer & Kevin Sorbo (-23) T9 - Reid Edstrom & Terry O'Quinn (-23_
• The Nationwide Tour will take next week off before resuming the 2012 schedule at The Rex Hospital Open at TPC Wakefield Plantation in Raleigh, N.C. May 28 -- June 3.