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  • BUPA CHALLENGE

    Late birdie gives Newcomb one-shot lead in Brazil

  • Newcomb goes into Sunday seeking his second career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica title. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
    Newcomb goes into Sunday seeking his second career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica title. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
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  • PORTO FELIZ, Brazil—It looked like it might be a four-way tie for first heading into the final round of the 66 JHSF Aberto do Brasil. Then Patrick Newcomb played his final hole of the day flawlessly, missing a 22-foot eagle putt but making an easy birdie at No. 18 to break free and open a one-shot lead over Shad Tuten, José Toledo and Patrick Flavin. Newcomb goes into Sunday seeking his second career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica title.

    It wasn’t the strong finish at the end of his round that Newcomb wanted to talk about, though. The Kentucky native called his 10-foot par putt on No. 9, and his scrambling eight-footer for par on No. 17 after he thought he had hit his ball out of bounds “one of the best up and downs I’ve ever had.” He added, “That kind of kept my day going.” Along with the par saves, he had six other birdies to go with his closing birdie.

    Tuten was happy to finish only a shot back after an adventurous ending to his third round. He did hit his ball out of bounds on No. 17, escaping with a bogey, which, under the circumstances, was a solid result. Tuten seemed stuck in gear toward the middle of his back nine, especially after missing a makeable birdie putt on No. 14. He recovered with birdies at Nos. 15 and 16 then bounced right back after the bogey with a closing birdie.

    With 18 holes to play, five players are within three shots of Newcomb’s lead, a point not lost on the 29-year-old, seventh-year pro.

    “There are so many people up there within a shot or a couple of shots. When it’s a logjam like that, I have to go out and play a good round [Sunday],” Newcomb explained. “The lead is basically irrelevant. It’s like I’m tied at this point because there are so many people there behind me.”

    Five players are tied for seventh, at 12-under. They are Argentina’s Andrés Gallegos and Tano Goya and Americans Jared Wolfe, Alex Weiss and Steven Fox.
    Did you know Shad Tuten, in 36 previous PGA TOUR Latinoamérica starts, has never finished higher than eighth? In his career, he has three ties for ninth and an eighth-place finish earlier this year at the Abierto Mexicano de Golf

    Key Information

    • Augusto Núñez recovered nicely from his 1-over 72 Friday. He shot a third-round 65 and moved into a tie for fifth, two shots behind leader Patrick Newcomb.

    • Shad Tuten and Jose Toledo shared low-round-of-the-day honors with their 64s at Fazenda Boa Vista. They are both tied for second. Toledo finished his round in style, making three consecutive birdies—and four over his final five holes.

    • Four players, including leader Patrick Newcomb, had 6-under 65s Saturday. The others were Patrick Flavin, Augusto Nunez, Jared Wolfe and Andrés Gallegos.

    • Rodrigo Lee continues to lead the pace among the Brazilians left playing this week. Lee is tied for fifth with 18 holes remaining. Felipe Navarro is tied for 12th, followed by Alex Rocha (tied for 14th), Herik Machado (tied for 24th), Rafael Barcellos (tied for 42nd), Gustavo Teodoro and Ronaldo Francisco (tied for 46th) and Odair Lima (tied for 50th.

    • The third-round leader has gone on to win three of the previous eight stroke-play events this season. The last to do so was Chandler Blanchet last week at the São Paulo Golf Club Championship. The others who turned halfway-point leads into wins are Jared Wolfe (Buenaventura Classic) and Evan Harmeling (BMW Jamaica Classic). Of that trio, only Blanchet had a one-shot, 54-hole lead.

    • Every winner of the previous nine tournaments on the schedule played this week, with eight making the cut. Leading the way is Patrick Flavin, tied for second through 54 holes. Jared Wolfe is tied for seventh (70-66-65), Tom Whitney is tied for 12th (65-68-69), Evan Harmeling is alone in 23rd (65-71-70), Chandler Blanchet (66-72-69) and John Somers are tied for 24th, Cristobal Del Solar is tied for 31st (67-68-73) and Andrés Echavarría is 55th (71-66-77).

    Quotable

    “I had a couple of nice par saves, and that’s what really what kept the day going.” –Patrick Newcomb

    “I only missed three greens, so when you’re putting all day it makes it easy.” –Patrick Newcomb

    “I’ve been hitting it in all the right spots. I’ve been striking it really well, and I haven’t been in much danger this week.” –Patrick Newcomb

    “My waves have definitely been the easiest of the two waves. I played with no wind Thursday afternoon and played with hardly any wind Friday morning. This (third round) is the first time I’ve had wind this week.” –Patrick Newcomb

    “I had it going early, stumbled a little coming home but it was a good day.” –Patrick Newcomb

    “I will try to plot my way around as best as I can and make putts.” –Patrick Newcomb

    It was great. Having someone who was playing well with me really helped me and kept me level-headed.” –Shad Tuten on playing with Jose Toledo

    “I was very aggressive today, as I said I was going to be, and it paid off.” –Shad Tuten

    “I’m just going to go out there and try to do the same thing I’ve been doing. Obviously, it’s working, and I’m trying to be as aggressive as possible. I have nothing to lose.” –Shad Tuten

    Third-Round Weather Report

    Mostly sunny and windy. High of 75. Wind SE at 12-15 mph.