Cantlay, Renner share 54-hole lead at Colombia Championship

March 02, 2013

By Joe Chemycz, Tour staff

BOGOTA, Colombia – California rookie Patrick Cantlay and Jim Renner of Massachusetts share the 54-hole lead at the Colombia Championship, the second event on the 2013 Tour schedule. Cantlay matched the day’s best round with a bogey-free, 6-under 65 while Renner, a second-round co-leader, bounced back from a pair of early bogeys to fire a 66 and tie Cantlay at 13-under 200.

Shane Bertsch carded a 4-under 67 and is in third place at 11-unde. Rookie Bhavik Patel, one of four co-leaders after day two, yanked his tee shot out of bounds and triple-bogeyed the first hole but rallied for a 2-under 69 that put him in fourth place, three off the lead.

Rookie Ryan Spears (68) and Steve Wheatcroft (69) are four back heading into Sunday’s finale at the Country Club of Bogota.

Cantlay, 20, started the day one shot off the lead and climbed steadily towards the top before moving into the lead with a 20-foot eagle putt at the par-5, 8th hole. The former UCLA All-America saved par with a 12-foot putt at No. 10 and added two more birdies on the back nine to take the clubhouse lead.

“I like clean rounds like that,” he said. “I hit a lot of good putts today. My putting stroke just feels really good.”

Cantlay burst on the professional scene two years ago while still an amateur when he fired a 10-under 60 in the second round of the 2011 Travelers Championship and took the 36-hole lead. Weekend scores of 72-70 dropped him into a tie for 24th place, but the lesson wasn’t lost.

“You’ve got to keep moving forward and anything bad or good that you’ve done in the past doesn’t really matter,” he said. “Even when you get up near the lead you can’t protect, you have to keep attacking. Nerves are good, it means you care. The more nerves you have means you’re at a good spot in the tournament.”

Cantlay and the 29-year-old Renner are in the best spot to capture the $126,000 first-place check that would go a long way towards a PGA TOUR card in 2014.

“I’m aware of what’s going on,” said Renner, who closed his day with four straight pars. “You also know that if you play good golf, all of that stuff will take care of itself.”

Renner bogeyed the second and sixth holes and was heading south when his day turned for the best.

“After the bogey at six I just tried to stay confident,” he said. “It was a rough start but I had some good fortune and battled back.”

Renner rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt at No. 8 to start a run that moved him from 6-under to 13-under in seven holes. He canned a 15-foot for birdie at No. 9 and then stuffed a 7-iron to 10 feet on the next hole and made that putt for another eagle. Suddenly, he was back in the game.

“I really enjoy this golf course,” he said. “When you’re hitting it good and putting good, and I thought I was, you’ve got some holes you can take advantage of.”

Third- Round Notes & Quotes:

• Steve Pate and Aaron Watkins share the tournament’s 72-hole record at 11-under 273. Pate defeated Watkins in a playoff in 2010, the first year of the event.

• Patrick Cantlay is only 20 years old but already has 19 career PGA TOUR starts on his resume. Cantlay enjoyed a stellar amateur career and turned pro in June last year after a brief stint at UCLA, where he was named winner of the Fred Haskins Award in 2011 as the nation’s top collegiate player. He was also named the Division I Player of the Year, participated in the Walker Cup and was runner-up to Kelly Kraft at the U.S. Amateur.

Cantlay has made 14 cuts in his 19 TOUR starts and is 1-for-4 this year. He finished T9 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Cantlay finished No. 79 on the Tour in 2012 in just four starts. He lost a playoff to Russell Henley at the Chiquita Classic and was T5 at the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open presented by Planters.

• Patrick Cantlay burst onto the PGA TOUR scene as an amateur in 2011, making five cuts in five summer starts. Cantlay finished T21 at the U.S. Open at Congressional CC near Washington D.C. The following week he opened with rounds of 67-60 at TPC River Highlands and grabbed a one-stroke lead at the Travelers Championship. Weekend scores of 72-70 dropped him back to T24. He followed up the next week with a T20 finish at the AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club near Philadelphia.

Cantlay finished off his summer with a T9 at the RBC Canadian Open and a T67 at the Open.

• Bhavik Patel got off to the worst start possible on Saturday when he hooked his tee shot out of bounds and made a triple-bogey, 7.

“I was a little nervous but my right foot just slipped. Maybe I tried to swing a little too hard but when my foot slipped I just yanked it. After that I just told myself to keep fighting. I knew there were plenty of chances to come back.”

Patel is a 22-year old rookie from Bakersfield, Calif. in his first season on Tour. Patel played college golf at Fresno State University and was the 2011 California State Amateur champion. He teed it up as an amateur at the 2012 TPC Stonebrae Championship but missed the cut.

He missed the cut at last week’s Panama Claro Championship.

• Ryan Spears is a 27-year old graduate of Wichita State University and in his first season on Tour. He has made the cut in two of his previous six career starts on the Tour and his T56 at last week’s Panama Claro Championship is his best finish to date. Spears’ only start on the PGA TOUR came at the 2009 U.S. Open where he missed the cut.

Spears ran off six birdies in a row during Friday’s second round and leads the tournament with 19 thus far.

• Bio Kim, 22, moved up in the standings with a 6-under 65 that put him at 8-under for 54 holes and T7. Kim had eight birdies on his scorecard, which he says was largely due to his work on the greens.

“The greens are so firm so I can’t really be aggressive at the pin all the time,” he said. “It was just one of those days where (putts) started to go in. It was a stress-free round. I was hitting a lot of fairways and was trying to keep it in play with my second shot somewhere in the middle of the green. I putted well enough to make some 10- to 20-footers for birdies.”

In 2011, Kim played on the PGA TOUR and was the TOUR’s youngest member.

• Kevin Foley, winner of last week’s Panama Claro Championship, eagled the par-5, 18th hole for a 2-under 69. The second-year pro from New Jersey stands 4-under for 54 holes and is T27.

This week's course statistics

Front (35) Back (36) Total (71)
Round 1 35.382 35.326 70.708
Round 2 35.711 35.859 71.570
Round 3 34.532 35.597 70.129

• Did you know about Colombia…It has the largest theater event in the world, the Ibero-American Theater Festival in Bogota. The major cultural event takes place every two years and brings together the most important theater companies from five continents. The festival spans 17 days and brings together visitors from all over the world and will return to Bogota in 2014.

• The Tour will head to further south next week for the second Chile Classic at the Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago Mar. 4-10. Last year, newcomer Paul Haley II cruised to a three-stroke win over Joseph Bramlett to earn the title in only his third career start. Haley, an All-American at Georgia Tech, posted back-to-back, 8-under 64s in the second and third round and opened up a six-shot lead after 54 holes. He was never seriously challenged on the final day but Bramlett, who started the day 10 back, made up ground quickly and carded a 64 to grab solo second. Next week’s winner will earn $117,000 from the $650,000 purse.