Thelen extends lead to four heading into final round in Mazatlán
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Written by Staff, PGA @PGATOUR
MAZATLÁN, México – Despite opening the third round with his first bogey of the week at the par-5 No. 1, Joel Thelen of Fort Worth, Texas, managed to extend his lead from three to four shots heading into the final round of the Dev Series Final. The 33-year-old carded a third-round 67 to move to 19-under 194 at Estrella del Mar Golf Club.
Jordan Costello of Pinedale, Wyoming, posted a 68 to remain solo second, at 15-under, while opening-round leader John Greco of Sunnyvale, California, shot 67 to take the solo third at 14-under. The leading trio (no ties) at the conclusion of the 72-hole event will secure exempt status for 2024 PGA TOUR Americas’ Latin American Swing events.
Firing an 8-under 64 to charge into a tie for fourth, Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet leads a group of five players trailing Greco by one tied for fourth. The others at 13-under are Mexico’s Fernando Arzate and the U.S. trio of Evan Brown, Christophe Stutts and Samuel Anderson.
“I got off to a bit of a rough start. I was hammering my birdie putts on the first three holes, but I got the speed of the greens down after that and did a good job staying patient” said Thelen, who saw his bogey-free performance end on the first hole Friday.
He got things going with back-to-back birdies on 6 and 7 before putting together a nice stretch of birdie-par-birdie-par-birdie-birdie off No. 10 to remain in control of the tournament. His second and last bogey of the day, on 16, shortened his 54-lead to four holes.
“Everything was not quite as good as yesterday, but it still played ok,” added the man who was coming off a second-round 62 Thursday.
Holding a four-shot lead, Thelen hopes to keep the pedal down Saturday. “The goal is to see how we can take it and continue to set goals and see if can chase them down,” he added.
After a disappointing 2023 Korn Ferry Tour season in which he made only 9 cuts in 21 starts, Thelen came here on the heels of missing out on his chance at first stage of the PGA TOUR Q-School First Stage a couple of weeks ago.
“(It was) pretty tough. I mean, the whole week my effort level was there. I felt like my thoughts were in the right place and it just didn’t work out. Simultaneously, I was really bumped, but I have a lot of peace just knowing I gave it all that I have.”
In addition to three exempt spots for the 2024 PGA TOUR Americas’ Latin American Swing, the Dev Series Final will award PGA TOUR Americas conditional status to the players finishing fourth through tenth.