Reband fires 64, takes control of Ecuador’s Kia Open
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Written by Greg Villalobos @PGATOURLA
QUITO, Ecuador—Garett Reband of the U.S. fired a moving-day-low 64 to take control at the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s 2023 Kia Open. The PGA TOUR University alum from the University of Oklahoma moved to 15-under 201 to open a three-shot lead over fellow U.S. player Beau Breault, who carded a 66 to stand solo second, at 12-under.
Armando Favela of Mexico, the 36-hole leader by one shot, carded a 70 to slip into a tie for third with countryman Alvaro Ortiz, who posted a 67, and first-round leader Toni Hakula of Finland, who moved back into contention by firing a 65.
Making a costly double bogey on his last hole left Alex Scott of the U.S. in solo-sixth, at 10-under. Seven other players share the seventh spot, six strokes behind Reband’s leading pace, including Ecuador’s Juan Moncayo. He recorded his third consecutive 69 in front of a cheerful crowd that provided its support at the Quito Tennis & Golf Club.
“It was a great day. I found a little something on the range earlier before I went off and teed, and I stuck with that same feeling all day and it worked out really well,” said Reband, 23, who entered the day trailing by two shots in a tie for third.
Although there’s nothing boring in a bogey-free 64, Reband called his eight-birdie performance boring. “It’s funny how those boring rounds turn into that sometimes. A lot of fairways, a lot of greens and then (I) made a few putts in there, which turned into 8-under,” said Reband.
After making his first birdie of the day at the third, one that settled him down early, Reband caught fire halfway through the round. A streak of four consecutive birdies, starting on No. 7, took him to the top of the leaderboard as he moved to 12-under.
“I knew I had to stay patient. I hit a lot of good shots, (Nos.) 4 through 6, but I didn’t get rewarded for them,” said Reband, who followed an easy birdie on No. 7 with a chip-in birdie a hole later after a poor third shot to keep the momentum going. He added birdies on 12 and 14 to pull away and had a huge break at the par-5 17th.
“I’ve been hitting a draw all week, and it should have set me up pretty well, but I haven't felt really comfortable over the 17th tee shot. I pulled a 5-wood in the trees early, and it happened to kick out in the fairway, which was a huge relief, and then I got it out in the fairway and gave me a chance for birdie. I didn’t make it, but I had that chance,” he explained right after he closed the day with a birdie at the par-4 18th.
The player from York, South Carolina, came into this week having missed the cut in all four of his starts this PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season.
“I could see the game finally starting to move in the right direction last week, even though I didn’t play that well. Then this week I felt comfortable as soon as I stepped on the course on Monday,” added Reband, who indicated he hasn’t had any issues with the significant altitude here, a city in the middle of the mountains, at 9,350 feet above sea level.
In Sunday’s last group, Reband will play with Breault and Hakula. They are scheduled to start at 11:48 a.m. local time at the Quito Tennis & Golf Club.
Did you know Garett Reband spent a year and a half on the Korn Ferry Tour before joining PGA TOUR Latinoamérica this season? Coming out of the University of Oklahoma, he finished fifth on the PGA TOUR University to earn status on the Korn Ferry Tour halfway through the 2021 season. He tied for 19th at Final Stage of Q-School to secure his card for the 2022 season but made only nine cuts in 22 starts, eventually losing lost his card at the next level. Reband has made 29 career Korn Ferry Tour starts.
2022-23 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Player Benefits
|2022-23 Final Totalplay Cup Position||Reward|
|No. 1||Will receive exempt status on the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour|
|Nos. 2-5||Will receive conditional status on the 2024 Korn Ferry|
|Nos. 1-5||Exempt into Final Stage of the 2023 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament|
|Nos. 6-25||Exempt into the second stage of the 2023 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament|
|Nos. 1-60||Status on the 2024 PGA TOUR Americas Latin America Swing|
At 14-under for the tournament after making eight birdies on his first 14 holes of the day, Beau Breault seemed on his way to the top of the leaderboard. He had birdied holes 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 14 to get to 8-under for the day. Back-to-back bogeys on 15 and 16 slowed him for a round of 6-under 66 that took him into solo second, at 12-under. “I played really solid and stayed very patient. The putts were rolling in early, and I just kept the momentum going. It stung a little bit to bogey 15 and 16. It is what it is, but I played good golf today,” said the 26-year-old from Michigan. He has made only two cuts in six starts this season to hold the 108th spot in the Totalplay Cup standings.
Holding a one-shot lead after an opening 64, ToniHakula had a disappointing 76 to drop into a tie for 27th Friday. Saturday, he got back on track with a 65 that left him four shots off the lead. “[Friday] was rough,” said Hakula of the second round in which he shot 5-over on the first six holes. “Today was more like the first day. I started off really well. I was 7-under through 11, so I was rolling it pretty good. It was fun playing today again, and I wish I got one or two more there at the end, but I’m very happy with 65.” Hakula finished his day with seven consecutive pars.
Joining ToniHakula in a tie for third at 11-under is the Mexican duo of Alvaro Ortiz, who carded a bogey-free 67 Saturday, and Armando Favela, who posted a 70. They will enter the final round as the leading Latin American players. Ortiz began the day tied for seventh, while Favela teed off in a two-way tie for the lead with Argentina’s Franco Romero. Romero carded a 3-over 75 to drop into a tie for 27th, at 6-under for the week.
Enjoying great support from the local fans, Juan Moncayo got off to an ideal start. He had three birdies in a row, starting on No. 2, but shot par the rest of the way for his third consecutive round of 69. At 9-under, he remains in a tie for seventh, trailing GarettReband by six shots. The 27-year-old was the only one of eight Ecuadorian players to make the cut this week.
Totalplay Cup leader Conner Godsey, one of the most consistent players on Tour this season, is having an inconsistent week. Following rounds of 73-68-75, he has dropped out of contention and will enter Sunday’s final round in a tie for 58th. The following are the scores and positions for the nine players inside the Totalplay Cup top-10 competing here this week:
|Totalplay Cup Pos.||Player||Score||Kia Open|
|1||Conner Godsey (U.S.)||par||T58|
|3||Charlie Hillier (New Zealand)||7-under||T18|
|4||Chandler Blanchet (U.S.)||9-under||T7|
|5||Linus Lilliedahl (Sweden)||2-over||CUT|
|6||Matt Ryan (U.S.)||1-over||60|
|7||Marcos Montenegro (Argentina)||7-under||T18|
|8||Jake McCrory (U.S.)||1-over||CUT|
|9||Leandro Marelli (Argentina)||3-under||T44|
|10||Davis Shore (U.S.)||7-under||T18|
Third-Round Weather: Partially cloudy. It rained lightly for a few minutes around 1 p.m. High of 66. Wind NNE at 7-21 mph.