Kresge pulls ahead at windswept Mylan ClassicSeptember 01, 2012
Joe Chemycz, Web.com Tour staff
CANONSBURG, Pa. -- Moving day in the third round of the Mylan Classic resembled a stalled truck in Pittsburgh rush-hour traffic as swirling winds played havoc with enough shots to keep a packed leaderboard from any gaining real separation. When it was all said and done at the Southpoine Golf Club, veteran Cliff Kresge emerged at the top despite shooting only a 1-under round of 70.
Kresge, playing in the final group, started the day one shot back but crept his way to the top, thanks to a pair of early birdies. His 12-under total of 201 is one stroke better than Robert Streb (69), Nicholas Thompson (68) and second-round leader Brad Fritsch (72), who bogeyed the final hole to drop out of a share of the lead.
The third member of the final threesome, two-time winner Casey Wittenberg also posted a 1-over 72 and is now tied for eighth place with rookies Hudson Swafford (66) and Ben Kohles (66), three off the pace.
"It was a very patient and challenging day," said Kresge, who hit only six of 14 fairways. "It was a little bit of sloppy golf and a little bit tougher."
Kresge birdied the second and third holes to reach 13-under par and move into the lead, a position he held for much of the afternoon. The 43-year old Floridian stumbled with a bogey at No. 17 when his wedge from 100 yards in the fairway wound up on the back side of the green.
"The hard part is staying committed to my shot when the wind switches," he said. "That was the challenging part of today because sometimes the wind would hit the trees and swirl it back across my face and I know that's not the wind but it's hard to stay committed to that shot."
Fritsch had his share of problems throughout the day, hitting only four of 14 fairways and missing plenty of greens.
"It was crazy some of the places I was hitting it," he said. "My short game saved me today and I'm only one shot out. Luckily nobody went nuts out there. I'm just worn out. Too much short game and not enough easy pars."
Fritsch bogeyed the same two holes that Kresge birdied on the front nine to fall out of the lead (Nos. 2, 3) but managed to climb back within one thanks to a pair of late birdies on the outward nine.
From there, it was a struggle.
"I can't remember the last fairway I hit," he said after his round. "I think it was 10. That's not the way I usually play but I just wasn't hitting quality shots."
When he did, like a solid drive at 18, the results didn't match the effort.
"On 18 I hit the best drive I'd hit in the last four hours and it's lying in the hazard," he said. "It wears you out. I hit some great shots around the greens but I can't complain about the score because I played much worse than 72, much worse."
• Saturday weather: mostly cloudy. Winds W 5-10 mph, with gusts to 15 mph. High of 86.
• Due to forecasted weather, Sunday's final-round starting times will be in groups of three from 8:00 to 9:50 a.m. from the 1st and 10th tees.
• Erik Flores withdrew during the round due to an ankle injury.
• Adam Long made the tournament's third ace in three days. Long had a hole-in-one at the 128-yard, 5th hole.
• Cliff Kresge is a three-time winner on Tour but his last victory came in a playoff at the 2006 Oregon Classic.
• Lefty John Chin had back-to-back eagles to close his front nine. Chin eagled the par-5, 8th hole from 15 feet and the par-4, 9th hole with a gap wedge from 127 yards. Chin made the turn at 1-under 34 and finished with a 1-under 70.
"Other than that, it was a struggle today," said Chin, who is T11 heading into Sunday. "My swing didn't feel good all day but somehow I shot 1-under. Nothing felt right and I'm just going to chalk it up as waking up on the wrong side of the bed. I was grinding out there. When I got done at 18, I was relieved, mentally."
Chin is the fourth player on Tour this year to post consecutive eagles, joining Reid Edstrom (Soboba Golf Classic), James Hahn (BMW Charity Pro-Am) and Brian Stuard (Price Cutter Charity Championship) in that category.
• The par-4, 9th hole saw back-to-back eagles today. Aaron Goldberg holed his second shot from 98 yards for an eagle-2. Chin, playing in the group behind, then eagled it minutes later when he holed his second shot from 127 yards.
"It was the only good thing I did all day," said Goldberg, who shot a 1-over 72 and is 4 under overall, tied for 34th place.
• Steven Alker ran off a string of five consecutive birdies on holes 9-13 en route to a 4-under 67. Alker is at 7-under 206 and T13 heading into the final day.
• Robert Streb's 2-under 69 was the only bogey-free round Saturday. Streb hit only 8 of 14 fairways and 11 of 18 greens in regulation.
• Best rounds of the day:
• Course statistics this week:
Front 9 (35) Back 9 (36) Total (71) Round 1 35.103 35.535 70.639 Round 2 35.868 35.967 71.834 Round 3 34.717 35.850 70.567
• The Web.com Tour will be idle next week before heading west for the Albertsons Boise Open at Hillcrest Country Club Sept. 10-16.