VanDerLaan claims 54-hole lead at Country Club de Bogotá Championship
February 08, 2020
By Sean Wildhack, PGATOUR.COM
- February 08, 2020
- John VanDerLaan fired a bogey-free 66 to grab the lead on Saturday. (Kevin Prise/PGATOUR.COM)
BOGOTÁ, Colombia — On a rainy afternoon at the Country Club de Bogotá Championship, John VanDerLaan carded a bogey-free 5-under 66 to take the 54-hole lead at 17-under 195. Camilo Villegas and John Chin, who played with VanDerLaan on Saturday, sit in a tie for second at 14-under 198.
After opening with three pars, VanDerLaan recorded his first birdie of the day on the par-4 fourth. He added birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 to reach 15-under for the week. On the back nine, VanDerLaan added two more birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to take a three-shot lead.
“I didn’t hit it as well off the tee or with my irons today,” VanDerLaan said. “I putted really well today, especially in the middle of the round. There were a couple holes where there were some big 10-footers that I made to stay 3-under and keep the momentum going.”
VanDerLaan is making his first start in Bogotá and just the fifth start of his Korn Ferry Tour career. He made one start in 2019 at the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Chevrolet but missed the cut. Last fall, VanDerLaan won at the Second Stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament. In December, he finished T7 at the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament’s Final Stage to earn guaranteed starts for the 2020 season.
This season, VanDerLaan has made the cut in all four starts. He recorded his first top-15 after finishing T11 at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.
“For me, it’s all about confidence,” he said. “When I have the confidence in my game, I know I can compete. When I won Second Stage, that was huge and got me going in the right direction. I’ve been stringing along good rounds and putting them together in the same tournament. Hopefully I can have one more tomorrow.”
Camilo Villegas and John Chin sit three strokes off the lead at 14-under 198. Villegas began his round with a bogey on the first hole, but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 8, 9 and 10. The 38-year-old added another birdie on No. 12 to reach 15-under for the week. Villegas stumbled down the stretch with a bogey on the par-4 17th to finish at 14-under through three rounds.
“I had to be patient,” Villegas said. “It was a slow start and I kind of got hot in the middle of the round. It’s too bad I didn’t finish that way, but we’ll be back tomorrow.”
Villegas, who is originally from Medellin, Colombia, had the support of the hometown gallery during Saturday’s third round. Villegas is making his first start at the Country Club de Bogotá Championship and has received plenty of support from the local fans throughout the week.
“They’ve been great all week, they’ve been sending good energy,” Villegas said of the crowds. “I’ve had great support all week and I’m sure it’ll be the same tomorrow.”
Tied with Villegas at 14-under is John Chin. The 32-year old carded birdies on Nos. 4, 7, 8 and 10 to reach 15-under for the week. Despite the hot stretch, Chin made a double-bogey on the par-4 11th to fall back to 13-under. He closed his third round with a birdie on the par-5 18th to earn a share of second heading into Sunday.
“Playing with Camilo and the crowd was a little nerve-wracking,” Chin said. “I saw it as a learning experience playing in front of a big crowd. It was a lot of fun out there, we kind of fed off each other and all played well.”
Chin last played a full season on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018. That year, he made 12 cuts in 23 starts and notched two runner-up finishes. Chin went on to finish the season ranked 10th in The 25 and earned his PGA TOUR card for 2018-19 season. Last season on TOUR, Chin made seven cuts in 21 starts.
“It’ll help,” Chin said of his experience. “Being in the second-to-last group in Reno and feeling the adrenaline and toning it down will come in tomorrow. But hey, tomorrow’s another day and I’ll just go out and do the best I can.”
Will Zalatoris and Mito Pereira sit T4 at 13-under 199. Final-round tee times will run from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. with players teeing off both Nos. 1 and 10.