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Toone charges with a moving-day 63, opens four-shot lead

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Toone charges with a moving-day 63, opens four-shot lead

    Written by Gregory Villalobos @PGATOURLA

    CAJICÁ, Colombia—Going bogey-free for the second consecutive day, George Toone of Hever, England, fired a moving-day-low, 9-under 63 to charge to the top of the leaderboard at the Inter Rapidísimo Golf Championship presented by Volvo. Improving to 19-under 197, the 28-year-old who wears a bucket hat when he plays, will take a four-shot lead into Sunday’s final round at El Rincón de Cajicá Golf Club.

    Moving into a tie for second, Mexico’s Luis Gerardo Garza carded a 7-under 65 for the second-lowest score of the day. At 15-under for the week, he joins 36-hole co-leaders Austin Hitt of Longwood, Florida, and Myles Creighton of Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada, who slowed their paces down with rounds of 3-under 69. Daniel Hudson, who went bogey-free for the second of only two 65s in the day, moved into solo fifth, at 14-under.

    “Yeah, great day, bogey-free again, went bogey-free [Friday], which was actually my first time going bogey-free on this Tour. I got off to a hot start, birdieing the first three and then just kept rolling,” said Toone, who had only two scores in the 60s in his previous 24 rounds of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season before going 69-65-63 this week.

    Trailing by just two shots in a tie for third through 36 holes, Toone shot 5-under on the front nine, opening the day with three consecutive birdies and adding two other birdies on 5 and 7. He had another fast start on the back nine, going birdie-par-birdie-birdie to get to 8-under for the day with five holes to play. He parred the next four and then closed with a birdie at the last, which he called a “big bonus.”

    “(No. 18) is not an easy hole. I was happy to go through with a 4 but happened to roll the putt in for a 3,” he said of his closing birdie at the 468-yard par-4.

    Entering this 10th event of the season ranked 87th in the Totalplay Cup standings, Toone’s name is not one fans have heard much about this season. He had made only three cuts in his nine previous starts, with his lone top-25 a tie for 17th in Peru.

    “I don’t know. It’s a strange game, I mean, I have felt that even though I have missed the cut at these events, I was doing a lot of stuff well. I just couldn’t piece it all together for four days and then, honestly, I wasn’t feeling very good about the game going into this week. But I did some work after I missed the cut (last week in Bucaramanga) and seemed to put it together,” admitted Toone about his play as a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica rookie.

    Leading by four, Toone will be the man to chase in Sunday’s last grouping. He will be playing with Garza and Hitt starting off No. 1 at 11:10 a.m.

    Did you know George Toone picked up golf seriously until the age of 16? He had played the game before then, but his focus was mostly on rugby. However, his retirement as a rugby player came after suffering a knee injury that required surgery. “That put an end to me playing rugby, so I started diving into golf,” recalled Toone, a University of Texas at Tyler product, turning pro in 2019. UT-Tyler is an NCAA Division III school.

    Key Information

    The following is a look at the different performance rewards available for the players who finish the season inside the Totalplay Cup top 60:

    George Toone’s four-shot lead is the largest lead through 54-holes this PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season. Players holding the lead or a share of it through 54 holes have gone on to win six out of nine events this season.

    Although a bogey at the last hole temporarily spoiled a terrific round, Luis Gerardo Garza was happy about the way he finished Saturday. “It was a great bogey,” said the 25-year-old from Leon, Mexico, about his 5 at the 18th. “I hit it in the water off the tee, and then I hit a 3-wood from about 85 yards. (I) hit it to the middle of the green and made the putt, so (I’m) happy about that.”

    Entering the day in a tie for 10th, Luis Gerardo Garza moved into a three-way tie for second with his round of 7-under 65. He got off to a bit of a slow start, making five pars in a row. He then had back-to-back birdies on 6 and 7 to shoot 2-under on the front. He had an eagle and four birdies before his lone bogey on 18 on the back nine. “I believe patience is the key, and it’s what has helped me up to this point. If I’m at 15-under through three days, why change and try to come up with something different? I just have to keep doing the same, and if things work out and I walk away with the trophy I’ll be very happy, if not, I’ll keep plugging along,” said Garza. His most recent performance was a tie for 10th last week in Bucaramanga.

    Sharing the 36-hole lead and playing together in the last grouping, both Austin Hitt and Myles Creighton struggled down the stretch. Hitt was at 18-under for the tournament after his sixth birdie of the day, on No. 12, but he bogeyed three of the last six holes (Nos. 13, 15 and 16) to drop to 15-under. Meanwhile, Creighton, who stayed bogey-free for the first 50 holes of the tournament, was at 17-under before making three consecutive bogeys, starting at No. 15. “I got to 50 holes without a bogey and then decided to make three in a row. Hopefully, those are the three of the week, I got them all at once,” said the 27-year old Canadian, who got a shot back with his birdie at the last.

    In a tie for 28th after carding a 4-under 68 Saturday, Totalplay Cup leader Walker Lee is currently projected to remain atop the standings. The following are the scores and positions for the Totalplay Cup top-10 players competing this week at El Rincón de Cajicá Golf Club:

    Points List Pos.PlayerPositionScore
    1Walker Lee (U.S.)T28210 (-6)
    2Conner Godsey (U.S.)CUT149 (+5)
    3Charlie Hillier (New Zealand)T16208 (-8)
    4Chandler Blanchet (U.S.)T9206 (-10)
    5Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)*----
    6Toni Hakula (Finland)T26209 (-7)
    7Linus Lilliedahl (Sweden)T6204 (-12)
    8Matt Ryan (U.S.)CUT145 (+1)
    9Marcos Montenegro (Argentina)T35211 (-5)
    10Jake McCrory (U.S.)CUT144 (par)

    *Korn Ferry Tour player, did not play this week

    Tied for 35th after rounds of 70-69-72, Ricardo Celia of Barranquilla remains the leading Colombian through three rounds. Twenty-one Colombians started the tournament, and the following are the four playing this weekend:

    T35Ricardo Celia70-69-72—211 (-5)
    T42Omar Beltrán73-69-70—212 (-4)
    T42Daniel Zuluaga71-71-70—212 (-4)
    T52a-Daniel Medellin72-70-72—214 (-2)

    Third-Round Weather: Cloudy. High of 68. Wind ENE at 7-19 mph.

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