Defending champion Rodríguez, Knight share 54-hole lead in Guadalajara
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Written by Gregory Villalobos @PGATOURLA
GUADALAJARA, Jalisco, Mexico—Coming to Atlas Country Club to defend a title he won a year ago, José de Jesús Rodríguez was a heavy favorite entering the week at the Jalisco Open Guadalajara. Within one shot of the lead for the first two days, the 42-year-old Korn Ferry Tour player charged to the top Saturday, going bogey-free for a low-of-the-day 6-under 65 that included a hole-in-one. At 14-under 199, Rodríguez shares the lead with California’s Evan Knight, who posted a 66 to keep a piece of a lead he was sharing with two other U.S. players at the beginning of the day.
Carding a bogey-free 67, Guadalajara native Alvaro Ortiz moved into solo third at 11-under to earn a spot along Rodríguez and Knight in tomorrow’s last group. They are scheduled to tee it off at 11:10 a.m. local time.
Brendon Doyle, Alexandre Rocha, Luis Fernando Barco, Stuart Macdonald and Ollie Osborne trail the leaders by five shots in a tie for fourth, at 9-under. Including Totalplay Cup No. 1 Myles Creighton, five other players trail by six in a tie for ninth.
“I really enjoy playing here at Atlas Country Club. They welcome me with open arms and a course in terrific shape. What more can you ask for?” said Rodríguez of a place where he owns the course record and has collected three wins and a runner-up finish since 2010.
Rodríguez got off to a good start, opening the day with birdies on 2 and 4 to flirt with the lead for the rest of the day. After birdieing 10, he made his strongest move by putting together a hole-in-one on 14 with a birdie on 15.
“On 14, which was playing into the wind, I was in between clubs, either the pitching or the 9-iron. I felt the 9-iron would be too much, so I went for my regular pitching, and it went right at the pin. I couldn’t see it go in because of the sunlight,” said Rodríguez of the 178-yard shot that landed within three feet and rolled in.
Rodríguez’s 17th career hole-in-one came only a month after his 16th, which he recorded during the second round of the Visit Knoxville Open on the Korn Ferry Tour on May 26. “A hole-in-one feels really nice, it’s hard to explain the joy that it brings. I feel really happy about it because it means my iron game is sharp,” said the man who is eyeing his sixth career victory on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.
Meanwhile, Knight will be seeking his first career victory since turning pro in 2018. Entering the day in a tie for the lead with Ollie Osborne and Josh Goldenberg, the UC Davis alum kept a strong pace all-say. He moved to 15-under for the tournament after going birdie-birdie-birdie off No. 13 but gave away the outright lead with his second bogey of the day on 16.
“I played solid today. All the way around, I hit it well off the tee, hit some good approach shots, putted pretty well, and had some nice saves coming in. I’m happy with the way I played, I feel like I’m in a good spot, my game feels good,” said the first-year PGA TOUR Latinoamérica player who holds the 51st place in the Totalplay Cup points list.
The following is a look at the different performance rewards available for the players who finish the season inside the Totalplay Cup top 60:
As tournament co-leader José de Jesús Rodríguez is the best of nine Mexican players competing this weekend at Atlas Country Club. A total of 39 Mexican players started the tournament and the following are the positions and scores for the ones who continue playing:
|T1||José de Jesús Rodríguez||199 (-14)|
|3||Álvaro Ortiz||202 (-11)|
|T19||Alejandro Madariaga||207 (-6)|
|T19||Isidro Benítez||207 (-6)|
|T25||Rodolfo Cazaubón||208 (-5)|
|T25||Luis Gerardo Garza||208 (-5)|
|T31||Raúl Pereda||209 (-4)|
|T37||Aaron Terrazas||210 (-3)|
|T55||Eduardo Cabrera||215 (+2)|
After making the cut on the number, Totalplay Cup No. 1 Myles Creighton carded a 5-under 66 to move from a tie for 44th into a tie for ninth at 8-under for the tournament. With six of the Totalplay Cup’s top 10 playing the weekend, this is how things look through 54 holes at Atlas Country Club:
|Points List Pos.||Player||Position||Score|
|1||Myles Creighton (Canada)||T9||8-under|
|2||Chandler Blanchet (U.S.)||T31||4-under|
|3||Walker Lee (U.S.)||T31||4-under|
|4||Charlie Hillier (New Zealand)||CUT||2-under|
|5||Conner Godsey (U.S.)||CUT||1-over|
|6||Austin Hitt (U.S.)||T19||6-under|
|7||Linus Lilliedahl (Sweden)||CUT||par|
|8||Toni Hakula (Finland)||T25||5-under|
|9||Cristóbal Del Solar (Chile)*||--||--|
|10||Matt Ryan (U.S.)||T37||3-under|
*Korn Ferry Tour player, not playing this week
With Mexico’s José de Jesús Rodríguez (leading at 14-under), Peru’s Luis Fernando Barco (tied for fourth at 9-under) and Argentina’s Puma Domínguez (tied for 14th at 7-under) and currently projected to move inside the top 60, those who would fall outside are Thomas Lilly, who is tied for 55th and is projected to drop from 60th to 62nd, Danny Ochoa, who missed the cut and is projected to drop from 56th to 61st, and Samuel Anderson, who also missed the cut and projects to drop from 59th to 63rd.
Totalplay Cup Standings Bubble Watch
|Points List Pos.||Player||Jalisco Open GDL Pos.||Projected Totalplay Cup Rank|
|56||Danny Ochoa (U.S.)||CUT||61|
|57||Peyton Wilhoit (U.S.)||T31||54|
|58||Brendon Doyle (U.S.)||T4||39|
|59||Samuel Anderson (U.S.)||CUT||63|
|60||Thomas Lilly (U.S.)||T55||62|
|61||Santiago Bauni (Argentina)||CUT||64|
|62||Joel Thelen (U.S.)*||--||--|
|63||Skyler Finnell (U.S.)||CUT||67|
|64||Alex Scott (U.S.)||CUT||68|
|65||Matías Simaski (Argentina)||CUT||69|
* Korn Ferry Tour player (not competing this week)
Third-Round Weather: Partly cloudy. High of 99. Wind WSW at 18-33, with gusts to 36 mph.