Wolfe takes two-shot lead into Buenaventura Classic final round
March 29, 2019
By Communications, PGATOURLA.COM
- March 29, 2019
- Jared Wolfe during the third round at Buenaventura Golf Club. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
RIO HATO, Panama—It may not have been the finish Jared Wolfe wanted when he began the third round of the Buenaventura Classic, the first event of the 2019 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season. However, his 1-under 71, that included bogeys on two of his final three holes, was still enough to give the American a two-shot lead over Chile’s Mito Pereira with 18 holes to play. The scoreboard isn’t exactly bunched at the top, either, as Australian Ryan Ruffels is alone in third, at 7-under, with Mitchell Meissner in fourth five strokes back. Only a handful of players appear to have a shot when the final round begins Saturday.
Yet the wind, which has dominated conversation all week, could have a say in the final round, bringing more players into the mix depending on when—and how hard-it blows.
Wolfe clearly has the upper hand with 18 holes to play, despite the setback of his Friday finish. He is not only poised to win his third PGA TOUR Latinoamérica title, but a triumph would also give him the early advantage in the Bupa Challenge, a set of four tournaments—the Buenaventura Classic the first of the quartet—that measures the results of players in those events. The player who earns the most money in the four Bupa Challenge-designated tournament earns a U.S. $10,000 bonus.
“I did some good and some bad, but I still shot under-par. If you had told me that with the weather we had today, I think I would have been happy with it,” Wolfe said following his four-birdie, three-bogey afternoon.
Again, the weather was a major issue, although it really only affected the final grouping for eight holes. “We maybe got through hole 11 without a lot of wind,” Wolfe added, “then 12 hit, and it got a little confusing in the fairway about which direction it was going. After that there was no doubt it was blowing in one direction and blowing very fast.”
Wolfe wasn’t terribly upset about his 16th-hole bogey, especially since he was sure his tee shot was going in the water. Wolfe spent time searching for his ball, eventually finding it. From there, he faced a second shot, with a tree in his way. That ball landed in a bunker, and his third shot missed the green and almost went in the water. Even with that adventure, unable to get up and down, he walked away with only a bogey.
Pereira easily had the most interesting scorecard among the leaders. He opened his round birdie-bogey-birdie-birdie, adding five pars and a bogey on No. 9 to finish his front nine at 3-under. He then was the picture of consistency, making nothing but pars on the inward nine.
Did You Know Mito Pereira, currently alone in second place, played in five 2018 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournaments, missing the cut in all five?
One hole that has helped Jared Wolfe to the 54-hole lead is the par-5 12th. Wolfe has two birdies and an eagle there this week. Although he’s bogeyed the 17th hole in each of the last two rounds, he did birdie the par-3 in his opening round.
The last time Jared Wolfe had the third-round lead in a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournament, he went on to win. He shared the 54-hole lead with Harry Higgs and Nicolás Echavarría at the 2018 Volvo Abierto de Chile, going on to victory by two shots. He also shared the 36-hole lead at the Diners Club Peru Open later in the year, a tournament Higgs went on to win.
Mito Pereira has been the picture of consistency so far this week. He turned in his third consecutive 69, and he’s been especially efficient on Buenaventura Golf Club’s back nine. In those 27 holes, Pereira has yet to make a bogey, and he’s 6-under for the week. He’s 3-under on the front nine, but it’s been a bit more of a wild ride on those nine holes, Pereira making nine birdies to go with six bogeys.
Americans Sulman Raza and Mitchell Meissner shared low-round-of-the-day honors, both firing 5-under 67s Friday. Meissner, a Rice University graduate, had four front-nine birdies and two additional birdies on his back nine to go with a bogey on No. 10. This is Meissner’s first official start on a PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour. He earned his playing privileges by grabbing conditional status at the Qualifying Tournament in Argentina, tying for 25th. Raza’s 67 came via a rare, bogey-free round—his birdies coming at Nos. 7, 10, 11, 13 and 15. Raza’s previous experience on TOUR-sanctioned Tours came at the 2018 U.S. Open and the Barracuda Championship, where he made the cut and tied for 37th.
Jared Wolfe, Mito Pereira and Ryan Ruffels will play in the final grouping of the day Saturday, teeing off at 10:45 a.m.
Michael Davan began the third round alone in second place, and was seemingly going to be in good position with 18 holes to play. He was 2-under through the first 14 holes (three birdies and a bogey) then disaster hit. Davan double-bogeyed No. 15 and added three consecutive bogeys to finish his round. He shot a 3-over 75 and fell into a tie for fifth, seven shots behind leader Jared Wolfe.
There were only nine sub-70 rounds Friday and 22 under-par scores.
While Australian Ryan Ruffels was nine shots worse in his second round than he was in his first, he improved by eight shots, his third round compared to his second. Ruffels fired a 4-under 68 a day after shooting a 75. Friday, he picked up his second eagle of the week at the par-5 12th.
“Our front nine was definitely a lot easier than it’s been the last two days. There was one hole where I had 4-iron yesterday, and I had 86 yards today with a lob wedge.” –Jared Wolfe
“We had some crazy wind on that side, but it probably helped us more than it hurt us. I didn’t really take advantage of the holes I should have.” –Jared Wolfe
“It could have been worse. I’m not sure how the drive didn’t go in the water. I’m not sure how the second shot didn’t get caught more in the tree than it did, and I’m not sure how the third shot didn’t go in the water. I was OK with that bogey.” –Jared Wolfe on his play at No. 16
“The wind on the back nine was more like it’s been the first two days and in the pro-am.” –Jared Wolfe
“It’s the same gameplan. I just have to stay focused throughout. It’s something I didn’t do as well today, something I have to do [Saturday].” –Jared Wolfe on his strategy going into the final round
“You gotta be really focused on every shot, and you have to be patient because the wind is blowing so hard it’s tough to make some good golf shots.” –Mito Pereira
“You have to be patient with your putting. You have your read and then the wind starts going the other way. You don’t know what to trust.” –Mito Pereira
“It’s been a really good three days here. I hope to keep playing like this. We’ll see.” –Mito Pereira
“On 10 or 11, the wind started blowing really hard. It was really tough coming in, but I played really good and made some good pars on the last couple of holes.” –Mito Pereira
Tournament Fast Fact
Of the three leaders playing this week, only Mito Pereira was in the field the last time Buenaventura Golf Club hosted a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournament. He missed the cut.
Third-Round Weather Report
Warm and calm in the morning. High reached 89. Wind increased as the day progressed, N at 12-15 mph, with gusts to 20 mph.