Pereira, Black continue to lead in Neuquén
November 09, 2019
By Communications, PGATOURLA.COM
- November 09, 2019
- Otto Black during the third round of the 2019 Neuquén Argentina Classic at Chapelco Golf Club in Argentina. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
SAN MARTIN DE LOS ANDES, Argentina—Otto Black and Mito Pereira didn’t exactly have identical days to both shoot 69 Saturday, but that’s what they did. And after entering the third round of the Neuquén Argentina Classic tied, that’s where they remain through 54 holes. They both sit at 14-under and hold a three-shot lead over a pair of Argentinians, Andrés Gallegos and Puma Domínguez, and Mexico’s Nicholas Maruri. Five players are tied for sixth, at 10-under, four shots behind.
Black had 15 pars and three birdies at Chapelco Golf Club on a day played under ideal weather conditions. Pereira had five birdies during his round, but he also had two bogeys on his way to the 3-under afternoon. When Sunday arrives, Pereira will be vying for his second career PGA TOUR Latinoamérica title, while Black is winless his 28 previous starts.
Black, as it turns out, would have held the lead outright if not for Pereira’s late birdie, on No. 14. The two matched each other birdie for birdie, at Nos. 12 and 13, but Black parred the 14th while Pereira rolled in his birdie effort. He also made par saves on the 15th and 17th when bogeys were very much in the picture. On his second-to-last hole of the day, Black had a bad bounce on his tee shot, with his second shot landing in the bunker. From there, he blasted to seven feet and made the putt.
“Fifteen and 17, I had some good up and downs there,” Black added. On his closing hole, he had a good look at birdie, the putt just missing. “It just didn’t break at the end, and I had a bit too much pace on it. The read was right. The pace was wrong.”
“This is still the third round, so I do not think so much about who I’m playing with,” Pereira said about the prospect of playing his second consecutive round with Black. “There are still 18 holes [Sunday]. It will surely be a little more of a challenge between us, but the way I’m hitting the ball and putting it could be a good round.”Mito Pereira of Chile during the third round of the 2019 Neuquén Argentina Classic at Chapelco Golf Club in Argentina. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
Did you know Mito Pereira has made 45 career Korn Ferry Tour starts? He debuted as an amateur in 2015 then played a full slate of tournaments in 2017 and 2018. His best finish was a tie for third at the 2017 Nashville Golf Open, finishing a stroke out of the Lanto Griffin-Abraham Ancer playoff that Griffin won. Griffin earlier this year won the PGA TOUR’s Houston Open and Ancer will represent Mexico on the International Team at the upcoming Presidents Cup in Australia.
Tom Whitney had the low round of the day, shooting an 8-under 64. A high finish here could go a long way toward him winning the Zurich Argentina Swing, which concludes next week at the 114 VISA Open de Argentina presentado or Macro. The player who earns the most money in the five Argentina-based tournaments this season wins a $10,000 bonus from Zurich. If Whitney were to win the Neuquén Argentina Classic, he would clinch the Zurich Argentina Swing.
Tom Whitney was bogey-free Saturday, with five front-nine birdies and three more on the back.
A pair of players who had previously not made a cut this season are on the leaderboard going into Sunday. Josh Seiple earned Tour status as an amateur, turned pro but missed the cut at the JHSF Aberto do Brasil and the Banco del Pacífico Open. The former University of Mississippi golfer shot his third consecutive under-par score and is tied for 13th, at 8-under, following his 68-70-70 start. This is Brandon Matthews season debut, previously playing 10 tournaments in 2017. The 2019 Korn Ferry Tour member played in 21 tournaments and made only four cuts. He is tied for sixth, at 10-under, improving each day (72-69-65).
Argentina’s Alejandro Tosti, a winner a week ago at the Termas de Rio Hondo Invitational, is second in the Zurich Argentina Swing. After making the cut, Tosti lost ground Saturday, shooting a 1-under 71. He began the day tied for 34th and is tied for 35th through 54 holes.
Defending champion Clodomiro Carranza made the cut on the number but then had a difficult day in the third round, posting a 6-over 78 to drop into 58th place.
There are 13 Argentines who made the cut this week. Leading the way is Andrés Gallegos, who started the day tied for third and remained there. Puma Domínguez joined Gallegos in third after his 4-under 68. Jorge Fernández Valdés and Ignacio Marino are tied for sixth, Tano Goya is tied for 18th, Augusto Núñez is tied for 18th, with Alejandro Tosti and Tommy Cocha (tied for 35th), Ricardo González (tied for 42nd), Jaime López Rivarola (tied for 54th), Marco Montenegro (56th), Paulo Pinto (57th) and Clodomiro Carranza (58th).
Justin Suh continues his climb up the leaderboard. Following an opening-round 77, Suh shot a second-round 65 to vault into a tie for 44th. Following his 4-under 68 Saturday, Suh enters the final round tied for 26th.
“It’s been like the other days, very steady. I drove it well, so I gave myself a lot of chances in the fairway.” –Otto Black
“I had a lot of putts that didn’t fall. I hit a lot of good putts.” –Otto Black
“I have to approach it one shot at a time and keep it as simple as I can. It’s going to be a great day again, weather-wise, so I just have to see what the golf course gives me.” –Otto Black
“I’m just trying to beat the golf course, and it happens that I’m tied for the lead.” –Otto Black
“The best shot was on the par-4 14th. I had 100 yards (to the pin), and the flag was behind the bunker and the wind against me. I hit it perfectly, it back-spinned and I made a five-footer for birdie. Onn the next hole I made a great bunker shot on the par-3, almost holing it for birdie.” –Mito Pereira
“It's been my mantra: go fishing and play. [Fishing] relaxes me. I can disconnect, I can completely forget at least for a couple of hours that I am a golfer.” –Mito Pereira
“Throughout the day I was hitting it well. [Friday] maybe I hit my shots a little closer.” –Mito Pereira
“I have to play my game [Sunday] and not worry about what the others are doing. Now I’m going fishing like all the other days.” –Mito Pereira
“I played very solid. I think that there was very little difference between [Friday] and today. I made two bogeys early, but on the back nine I made three birdies in a row that allowed me to stay on top.” –Mito Pereira
Tournament Fast Fact
The Neuquén Argentina Classic dates to 2012 and has called four courses home: Olivos Golf Club, La Reserva Cardales, Las Praderas Club and the current site, Chapelco Golf Club,
Third-Round Weather Report
Much warmer and mostly sunny. High of 81. Wind SW at 6 mph.