Archive for September, 2014

50 PLAYERS SECURE 2014-15 PGA TOUR CARDS VIA WEB.COM TOUR

With the conclusion of the 2014 Web.com Tour season at last week’s Web.com Tour Championship, 50 PGA TOUR cards and priority positions for 2014-15 have been determined.  The new PGA TOUR season begins in less than three weeks (Oct. 9-12) at the Frys.com Open in California.

Leading the class of 50 who are headed to the PGA TOUR are Canada’s Adam Hadwin, who led in combined earnings for the entire 25-event season, and Florida native Derek Fathauer, who was the leading money winner for the four-event Web.com Tour Finals. Both are fully exempt on TOUR and earned a spot in next May’s PLAYERS Championship. Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz won three Web.com Tour tournaments in one season for the first time since 2009 and is also fully exempt on TOUR. Justin Thomas received an exemption to compete in the 2015 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance by way of his victory at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. Thomas finished fifth in the priority rankings.

The 50 who secured 2014-15 PGA TOUR playing privileges and where they finished in terms of ranking (1-50) in the Web.com Tour eligibility category that will be used at the start of the upcoming PGA TOUR season are:

Priority Pos. Name(2014 wins) Residence(native of, if not U.S.) College Age Tour Started 2014 On
1 Adam Hadwin * (2) Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
  1. of Louisville
26 Web.com Tour
1 Derek Fathauer (1) Jupiter, Fla.
  1. of Louisville
28 Web.com Tour
3 Carlos Ortiz *  (3) Dallas, Texas (Mexico)
  1. of North Texas
23 Web.com Tour
4 Bud Cauley (1) Jacksonville, Fla.
  1. of Alabama
24 PGA TOUR
5 Justin Thomas * (1) Goshen, Ky.
  1. of Alabama
21 Web.com Tour
6 Colt Knost Dallas, Texas SMU 29 Web.com Tour
7 John Peterson Fort Worth, Texas LSU 25 PGA TOUR
8 Andrew Putnam * (1) University Place, Wash. Pepperdine U. 25 Web.com Tour
9 Richard Sterne * Stellenbosch, South Africa 33 Non-Member
10 Jason Gore Valencia, Calif. Pepperdine U. 40 Web.com Tour
11 Zac Blair * St. George, Utah Brigham Young U. 24
12 Tony Finau * (1) Lehi, Utah 24 Web.com Tour
13 Sam Saunders * Fort Collins, Fla. Clemson U. 27 Web.com Tour
14 Zack Sucher * (1) Birmingham, Ala.
  1. of Alabama-Birmingham
27 Web.com Tour
15 Jim Herman Port St. Lucie, Fla.
  1. of Cincinnati
36 PGA TOUR
16 Blayne Barber * (1) Auburn, Ala. Auburn U. 24 Web.com Tour
17 David Lingmerth Jacksonville Beach, Fla. (Sweden)
  1. of Arkansas
27 PGA TOUR
18 Alex Cejka (1) Munich, Germany 43 Web.com Tour
19 Tom Hoge * Fargo, N.D. Texas Christian U. Web.com Tour
20 Steven Alker (1) Fountain Hills, Ariz. (New Zealand) 43 Web.com Tour
21 Greg Owen Windermere, Fla. (England) 42 Web.com Tour
22 Andres Gonzales (1) Olympia, Wash UNLV 31 Web.com Tour
23 Tom Gillis Jupiter, Fla. Oakland Comm. College 46 Web.com Tour
24 Jon Curran * (1) Tequesta, Fla. Vanderbilt U. 27 Web.com Tour
25 Whee Kim * Suwon, South Korea Yonsei U. 22 Web.com Tour
26 Cameron Percy (1) Raleigh, N.C. (Australia) 40 Web.com Tour
27 Scott Pinckney * Scottsdale, Ariz. Arizona State U. 25 Web.com Tour
28 Daniel Berger * Jupiter, Fla. Florida State U. 21 Web.com Tour
29 Tyrone Van Aswegen San Diego, Calif. (South Africa) Oklahoma City U. 32 PGA TOUR
30 Jonathan Randolph * Brandon, Miss.
  1. of Mississippi
26 Web.com Tour
31 Sean O’Hair West Chester, Pa. 32 PGA TOUR
32 Max Homa * (1) Valencia, Calif.
  1. of California-Berkeley
23 Web.com Tour
33 Heath Slocum Milton, Ga.
  1. of South Alabama
40 PGA TOUR
34 Mark Hubbard * San Jose, Calif. San Jose State 25 Web.com Tour
35 J.J. Henry Fort Worth, Texas Texas Christian U. 39 PGA TOUR
36 Steve Wheatcroft (1) Jacksonville, Fla. Indiana U. 36 Web.com Tour
37 Nick Taylor * Phoenix, Ariz. (Canada)
  1. of Washington
26 Web.com Tour
38 Kyle Reifers Charlotte, N.C. Wake Forest U. 30 Web.com Tour
39 Hudson Swafford Tallahassee, Fla.
  1. of Georgia
27 PGA TOUR
40 Ryan Armour Jupiter, Fla. Ohio State U. 38 Web.com Tour
41 Alex Prugh Las Vegas, Nev.
  1. of Washington
30 PGA TOUR
42 Byron Smith * (1) Palm Desert, Calif. Pepperdine U. 33 Web.com Tour
43 Oscar Fraustro * Scottsdale, Ariz. (Mexico) 32 Web.com Tour
44 Bill Lunde Las Vegas, Nev. UNLV 38 Web.com Tour
45 Sung Joon Park * South Korea 28 Web.com Tour
46 Roger Sloan * (1) Houston, Texas (Canada)
  1. of Texas-El Paso
27 Web.com Tour
47 Chad Collins Cloverdale, Ind. Methodist U. 36 PGA TOUR
48 Fabian Gomez Resistencia Chaco, Argentina 36 Web.com Tour
49 Carlos Sainz, Jr. * Elgin, Ill. Mississippi State U. 28 Web.com Tour
50 Eric Axley Knoxville, Tenn. East Tennessee State U. 40 PGA TOUR

 

* = First-time member on PGA TOUR in 2014-15

24 of the 50 card earners will be first-time members of the PGA TOUR in 2014-15.

wctcards-1320

“We congratulate the Class of 2014 graduates and wish all 50 much success on the PGA TOUR in 2014-15,” said Web.com Tour president Bill Calfee. “It is an excellent group, 24 of whom will be first-time members of the PGA TOUR.  We know they will enhance the Web.com Tour tradition of having impact on the PGA TOUR and increase the 391 alumni wins that have already been collected on TOUR by the likes of 2013 graduates Chesson Hadley, Brendon Todd and Seung-Yul Noh.”

The 50 cards were earned by players who competed on the Web.com Tour, PGA TOUR or a combination of both tours this past year. The Web.com Tour season consisted of 21 Regular Season events, which ended last month and identified the first 25 cards based on earnings.  The second set of 25 cards was available in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals that concluded last week.  The Finals featured the top-75 Regular Season money winners off the Web.com Tour and Nos. 126-200 from the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup points list (including non-members and medicals, and excluding those who already had PGA TOUR exemptions).

For Priority Ranking purposes, the players are merged, with those who earned 2014-15 PGA TOUR cards via the Regular Season being seeded with odd numbers based on their cumulative Regular Season / Finals earnings (3, 5, 7…45, 47, 49) and the second set of 25 being seeded with even numbers (4, 6, 8…46, 48, 50) based on their earnings in the four Finals events only. The respective leading money winners received No. 1 seeds.

This is only the second year in which all 50 PGA TOUR cards came through the Web.com Tour. Prior to 2013, 25 cards were available through the Web.com Tour and another 25 through the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament. The PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament was replaced by the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament, which feeds all of its Final Stage participants to the Web.com Tour.

The season culminated with Derek Fathauer capturing the Web.com Tour Championship by one shot over Utah’s Zac Blair and two over Jason Gore.  The Championship was held at Dye’s Valley course at TPC Sawgrass, which is home base for the PGA TOUR.

Interview with 2014 winner Justin Thomas

2014 Final Round Recap

A very special friendship

More than a tournament

Giving Back

2014 First Shot to Fight Cancer

2014 Tournament Week Photo Gallery

JUSTIN THOMAS WINS IN PLAYOFF

FINAL Leaderboard

Pos. Name Scores
1 Justin Thomas 67-69-72-70—278 (-6)**
2 Richard Sterne 72-68-67-70—278 (-6)
3 Sean O’Hair 68-71-73-67—279 (-5)
Whee Kim 71-72-67-69—279 (-5)
5 J.J. Henry 74-70-69-67—280 (-4)
** won with birdie on 1st playoff hole


Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship - Final RoundColumbus, OH – Justin Thomas sank a three-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to defeat Richard Sterne and claim the 2014 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship at the Ohio State University Golf Course Scarlet Course. The pair each finished with 72-hole totals of 6-under-par 278.

Thomas, who grew up in the Louisville, Ky., area and attended the University of Alabama, sealed his victory after hitting a wedge from 75 yards to three feet and then draining his putt for his first professional victory in just his 20th start on the Web.com Tour. He earned $180,000 with the win.

Sean O’Hair matched the day’s best round with a 4-under 67, which moved him into a tie for third place with Korea’s Whee Kim. The two finished at 5-under and one shot out of the playoff. Veteran J.J. Henry also carded a 67 on Sunday, good for solo fifth place.

Things looked bleak late on the back nine for Thomas, who trailed Sterne by three strokes with three holes remaining.

However, Sterne, playing in the final and behind Thomas, was unable to build on his lead after making an eagle at No. 12 to go up by three strokes. Minutes later, things started to go awry for the 32-year old South African when he three-putted No. 15 for bogey and then made consecutive bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 to fall back into a tie with Thomas. He was then unable to birdie No. 18.

“I don’t really feel much right now. Everything is pretty numb. It’s crazy,” said Thomas. “I feel like of all the chances I had, it’s crazy how this one kind of worked out, but sometimes that’s how it happens. I believe everything happens for a reason and it just happened to be my week. So I’m pumped.”

For Thomas, the win was extra special since he had both his parents and grandparents following him on Sunday. The former reside in Columbus.

“I just tried to stay patient today and you have to do that here. I don’t want to say it’s a relief to win, but it’s hard to win with the level of play out here,” Thomas continued.

Was it the biggest win of his career?

“Yes, I would. Any time you win, it’s tremendous. It’s a tremendous honor. It means you’re the best that week and you beat everybody you played against. It’s a really cool feeling and it’s tough because it doesn’t happen very often, especially in professional golf.”

It was a particularly frustrating finish for Sterne who appeared in the driver’s seat for his first U.S. victory. But perhaps playing the last 10 consecutive weeks may have caught up with him.

“I struggled all day to roll the 30, 40 footers up close and I came up short couple times. I thought this time just give it a little bit more and it rolled on five, six feet past (on No. 15),” said Sterne. That was the first short putt I missed all day. I had putted well up until then, and I hit a bad tee shot on 16 and it really left me with no shot. So, I had to take my medicine there and try and up-and-down it. Then I hit a bad tee shot on 17 and unfortunately, it’s a bad shot at the wrong time and that’s — when you’re playing at this level, it can bite you.”

Sterne will forego competing in next week’s Web.com Tour Championship at Dye’s Valley Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, instead opting to return home to South Africa on Monday.

It will be a different story for Thomas. He’ll head to Jacksonville where he’ll try to improve on his current status on the priority list. He is currently fourth.

 

FOURTH-ROUND NOTES:

* Sunday weather: Partly cloudy. Wind light and variable. High of 69.

* Today’s scoring average of 73.077 (par-71) is the third-highest in relation to par on Tour this year. Three of the four rounds this week rank among the top-6 in 2014:
OSU (Scarlet Course)             73.754             +2.754             R3       Nationwide Children’s Hospital Champ.
Panama Golf Club                          72.090              +2.090               R1        Panama Claro Championship
OSU (Scarlet Course)             73.077             +2.077             R4       Nationwide Children’s Hospital Champ.
Victoria National Golf Club         72.054               +2.054               R4        United Leasing Championship
Ashburn Golf Club                         72.012               +2.012               R3        Nova Scotia Open
OSU (Scarlet Course)             72.975             +1.975             R2       Nationwide Children’s Hospital Champ.

* This week’s scoring average of 72.590 is the highest (in relation to par) on Tour this year:
Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship        71        72.590             +1.590
Panama Claro Championship                                                      70        71.106             +1.106
United Leasing Championship                                                    72        73.073             +1.073

* Today’s playoff was the third in tournament history and the second in three years:
2009: Derek Lamely def. Rickie Fowler with a par-3 on the second extra hole (#13)
2012: Ben Kohles def. Luke Guthrie with a birdie-3 on the first extra hole (#18)
2014: Justin Thomas def. Richard Sterne with a birdie-3 on the first extra hole (#18)

* Today’s playoff was the fifth of the 2014 Web.com Tour season:
Chitimacha Louisiana Open – Kris Blanks def. Brett Stegmaier with a birdie-3 on the 3rd extra hole (#18)
Cleveland Open – Steven Alker def. Dawie van der Walt with a birdie-3 on the 11th extra hole (#18)
Nova Scotia Open – Roger Sloan def. Derek Fathauer with a par-4 on the 1st extra hole (#18)
Albertsons Boise Open – Steve Wheatcroft def. Steven Alker with a birdie-3 on the 1st extra hole (#18)
Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship – Justin Thomas def. Richard Sterne with a birdie-3 on the 1st extra hole (#18)

JUSTIN THOMAS

* Justin Thomas earns his first win in his 20th career start and his 19th start this year.

* Thomas picks up a check for $180,000 and moves to No. 3 on the Web.com Tour season money list with $470,470. He trails money leader Carlos Ortiz by $44,933 heading into next week’s Tour Championship.

* Thomas was already assured of a spot on the 2014-15 PGA TOUR but his victory today also comes with a sponsor exemption into The Memorial Tournament June 4-7, 2015 at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

* Thomas moves to No. 4 in the Finals Priority Ranking with only one event left.

* Thomas collects his first win at the age of 21 years, 4 months and 16 days. He is the youngest winner on Tour this year and the fourth-youngest in Web.com Tour history:

Youngest winners:
Jason Day 19 years, 7 months, 26 days, 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic
Patrick Cantlay 20 years, 11 months, 15 days, 2013 Colombia Championship
Danny Lee 21 years, 2 months, 8 days, 2011 WNB Golf Classic
Justin Thomas 21 years, 4 months, 16 days, 2014 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship
James Oh 21 years, 5 months, 27 days, 2003 Mark Christopher Charity Classic
Steven Bowditch 21 years, 8 months, 12 days, 2005 Jacob’s Creek Open Championship
David Duval 21 years, 9 months, 1993 Wichita Open
David Duval 21 years, 11 months, 1993 Tour Championship

 

* Thomas becomes the 15th first-time winner on Tour in 24 events this year.

* Thomas becomes the sixth rookie to win on Tour this year – Jon Curran, Carlos Ortiz (3), Max Homa, Sebastian Cappelen, Tony Finau.

* Thomas adds a win to an already impressive list of top-10 finishes this year. The victory gives him finishes this year from first to sixth place:
1st – Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship
2nd – El Bosque Mexico Championship
3rd – Albertsons Boise Open
T4 – United Leasing Championship
T5 – Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship
T6 – Price Cutter Charity Championship

* Thomas has made the cut in 17 of 19 starts this year.

* Thomas’ final-round 70 marked the 14th time in 15 tries that he has broken par in the fourth round this year. The only time Thomas did not post a sub-par score in the fourth round was at the TPC Stonebrae Championship, where he carded a 1-over 71.

* Thomas has played 71 rounds this year and only six have been above par. His highest score of the year, a 4-over 76, came in the third round of the Hotel Fitness Championship two weeks ago.

* Thomas has posted consecutive above-par scores only one time this year. He shot back-to-back 1-over 71’s in the third and fourth rounds of the Stonebrae Classic.

 

RICHARD STERNE

* Richard Sterne collected a runner-up check for $108,000 and guarantees himself a spot on the 2014-15 PGA TOUR, which begins next month. Sterne has been a regular member of the European Tour since 2003. He has eight international wins including three on the European Tour.

* Sterne missed the cut at the Hotel Fitness Championship and was T41 at last week’s Chiquita Classic.

* Sterne came into the week as the highest-ranked player in the field according to the Official World Golf Rankings (#82). He was one of five players ranked in the top-150.

* Sterne was born in Pretoria, South Africa and still lives in Stellenbosch, Cape Town.

* Sterne has made 25 cuts in 35 PGA TOUR events since 2006. He was 6-of-7 this year with a T17 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play and a T4 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

* Sterne is headed back to South Africa and will not compete in next week’s Web.com Tour Championship. He plans to take a couple of weeks off before starting preparations for the Dunhill Cup.

SEAN O’HAIR

* Sean O’Hair missed the cut in his two previous starts of the Web.com Tour Finals – Hotel Fitness Championship and last week’s Chiquita Classic. His T3 finish this week was worth $58,000 and will earn him a return trip to the PGA TOUR for 2014-15. He is currently No. 23 on the Finals Priority Ranking.

* O’Hair played in the Web.com Tour Finals last year after finishing the regular season No. 170 on the FedExCup rankings. He regained his PGA TOUR card for the 2013-14 season after finishing No. 16 in the Finals Priority Ranking, thanks to a T11 at the Hotel Fitness Championship, a T17 at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship and a T8 at the Tour Championship.

* O’Hair made the cut in 14 of 25 starts on the 2013-14 PGA TOUR but had only one top-10 finish – a T10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Down the stretch, O’Hair made only seven cuts in his last 14 starts and his best finish over that period was a T43 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He ended the regular season No. 160 in the FedEx Cup standings.

* O’Hair has been a full-time member of the PGA TOUR since 2005 and has made 255 career starts. He is a four-time winner on TOUR – 2005 John Deere Classic, 2008 PODS Championship, 2009 Quail Hollow Championship, 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

WHEE KIM

* Whee Kim rolled in a long birdie putt on the final hole Sunday for a 2-under 69 and a tie for third place. The 22-year old from Korea collected a check for $58,000 and assured himself a spot on the 2014-15 PGA TOUR. Kim moved up to No. 19 on the Finals Priority Ranking. Kim has never made a start on the PGA TOUR.

Additional player notes:

* Tony Finau celebrated his 25th birthday Sunday with an even-par 71. Finau, winner of the Stonebrae Classic, tied for sixth place this week. He is now No. 12 on the Priority Ranking.

* J.J. Henry fired a bogey-free, 4-under 67 today to finish at 4-under 280. His solo fifth-place finish was worth $40,000 and put him in prime position to regain his PGA TOUR card for the 2014-15 season. Henry made 18 cuts in 28 starts on TOUR this year but his best finish was a T13 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He ended the regular season No. 128 on the FedExCup standings.

* Henry has been a full-time member of the TOUR since 2001 and has 413 career starts. He is a two-time winner – 2006 Buick Championship, 2012 Reno-Tahoe Open – and played on the United States’ 2006 Ryder Cup team.

* Henry’s 5th-place finish today is his first top-10 since a T7 at the 2013 John Deere Classic.

* Patrick Rodgers fired a 2-under 69 to finish T8 this week. His check for $30,000 puts him No. 50 on the Finals Priority Ranking heading into next week’s finale at the Tour Championship.

* Rodgers, a former Stanford All-America, has been troubled by a bad back of late which forced him to withdraw prior to the start of the Hotel Fitness Championship. He missed the cut at last week’s Chiquita Classic but rounds of 70-70-73-69—280 have him encouraged.

“My back is getting better every week. Last week I tried to give it a go and maybe I shouldn’t have,” he said. “There’s still some pain when I’m swinging my driver but it’s not anything I can’t play through.”

Rodgers’ first Tour-sanctioned start came in this event in 2012 when top college players received sponsor exemptions. He posted scores of 76-73 and missed the cut. His Cardinal team also played on this course in the 2013 NCAA Regional.

“That (Regional) was one of my more disappointing moments in college because our team missed it,” said Rodgers. “That gave me even more motivation this week. Hopefully I can keep building on this week.”

* Rodgers turned pro earlier this year after a stellar career at Stanford University, where he tied Tiger Woods’ school record of 11 victories. Rodgers left Stanford after three seasons. He played in seven PGA TOUR events and earned enough to qualify for the Web.com Tour Finals. Rodgers hails from the Indianapolis area (Avon, IN).

* Adam Hadwin birdied his final two holes Sunday for an even-par 70 and a T10 finish. With that, Hadwin moved to the No. 1 spot on the Finals Priority Ranking. Hadwin, winner of last week’s Chiquita Classic, is atop the standings with $206,000. He is first on the list by virtue of making two cuts in three Finals starts. Hotel Fitness Championship winner Bud Cauley missed the cut at last week’s Chiquita Classic and did not play this week so he has $180,000.

* Sam Saunders continued his solid play in the Finals with a T12 finish this week. Saunders tied for fourth at the Hotel Fitness Championship and was T11 at last week’s Chiquita Classic. He is now No. 13 on the Finals Priority Ranking.

* Best rounds of the day:
67 – J.J. Henry, Sean O’Hair
68 – Tom Gillis, Sam Saunders
69 – Jason Gore, Whee Kim, Patrick Rodgers

* Scoring Averages for the week:
            Front (36)       Back (35)        Total (71)
R1
         36.087               35.278                71.365
R2         36.803              36.172                 72.975
R3         36.969              36.785                 73.754
R4         37.062              36.015                  73.077
Total    36.638              35,952                  72.590

Sterne, Fathauer and Thomas share third round lead

Third-round Leaderboard

Pos. Name Scores
1 Richard Sterne 72-69-67—208 (-5)
Derek Fathauer 63-69-76—208 (-5)
Justin Thomas 67-69-72—208 (-5)
4 Tom Hoge 68-74-67—209 (-4)
Blayne Barber 65-74-70—209 (-4)
Vaughn Taylor 66-69-74—209 (-4)

 

ImageWith most of the field in full retreat, South African native Richard Sterne figured a solid score in Saturday’s third round of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship would move him up the leaderboard.

Sterne was right. He started the day nine shots off the pace but a solid, 4-under 67 eventually moved the 32-year old into a tie for the 54-hole lead. Sterne finished early in the day with a 5-under 208 total, a full 75 minutes in front of the final pairing.

With the rough growing and a cool wind blowing, the already difficult Ohio State University Scarlet course got even tougher. The majority of the leaders struggled to make par, let alone birdie. Saturday’s scoring average of 73.754 (+2.754) made it the single-toughest round on the Web.com Tour this year.

First- and second-round leader Derek Fathauer battled his way to a 5-over 76, which was still good enough to give him a share of the lead along with playing partner Justin Thomas (72).

Texan Tom Hoge (67), Blayne Barber (70) and Vaughn Taylor (74) share fourth place, just one shot back. Whee Kim (67) and Stonebrae Classic champion Tony Finau (72) are only two strokes behind the trio of leaders.

“It’s firming up. The greens are getting firm, so you can’t get close,” said Sterne, who ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front nine to get into contention. “You are struggling to make pars out there if you don’t do the right things.”

His driver, 6-iron combination at the par-5, 12th hole was as good as it gets. Sterne needed only to knock in a 3-foot putt for eagle, which gave him sole possession of the lead at 6-under, until a bogey three holes later.

Sterne, who had surgery to repair a torn labrum in March, managed to save par on his final two holes and post his 67, matching low round of the day.

Of the 11 groups that started their rounds on No. 1 – play was in threesomes off the 1st and 10th tees – Sterne and Barber (70) were the only two players to break par (71).

“Anytime you get 15-20 mile an hour winds, and especially with these conditions, it’s tough,” said Thomas, who missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have given him the outright lead. “You really have to control your flight. Here, because you have to play the bounces so much and the contours in the greens, you have to be in the right places. It was just really difficult to be committed to every shot.”

Fathauer managed to hit only six fairways and eight greens in the wind, but still has a piece of the lead.

“The greens were really fast and kind of crusty around the holes. They were tough to make putts,” he said. “It’s as tough as you can get right now. It’s almost impossible to get your ball close. You’ve got to make some putts to shoot anything near even-par out there.”

THIRD-ROUND NOTES:

* Fourth-round play will be in twosomes off the 1st tee. Times will run from 7:21 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. with an expected finish time of 4:30 p.m.

* Just over a year ago Richard Sterne was playing on the International team at the 2013 Presidents Cup which was played nearby at Muirfield Village. However, 2014 has been frustrating for the player currently ranked 82nd in the World Golf Rankings. Shortly after finishing T4 at the World Golf Championship-Cadillac Championship last March, Sterne decided to have surgery on his left sternum which had been troubling him for the previous seven months. After missing four months following March surgery in Vail, he returned to action at The Open Championship (MC) and subsequently made three more starts on the PGA TOUR, making the cut in each one, including a T35 finish at the PGA Championship.

* Richard Sterne was one of three players who posted the day’s low round of 4-under-par 67. The South African native posted a 4-under-par 67 which allowed him to move from a T20 to a tie for first place heading into the final round. Sterne was T59 after Thursday’s opening round.

* Richard Sterne (82nd) is just one of five players in the field who are ranked in the top 150 in the World Golf Rankings. In addition, Branden Grace is 113th, Roberto Castro is 122nd, Carlos Ortiz is 126th and David Lingmerth is 143rd.

* Richard Sterne owns eight international victories, including three on the European Tour.

* In addition to Richard Sterne’s 67, Whee Kim and Tom Hoge also matched his 4-under-par effort.

* The field averaged 73.754 on Saturday and increase from Friday’s average of 72.975. Only four players posted rounds in the 60s – Tom Hoge, Richard Sterne, Whee Kim and J.J. Henry and only 11 players bettered par on the cool, windy day in Columbus. Just two players shot an even-par 71.

* Of the 33 players who teed off on No. 1 in Round Three, only two players bettered par – Richard Sterne (67) and Blayne Barber (70).

* Of the three players currently tied for first place, only Richard Sterne has won on the PGA Tour or an international event. Justin Thomas’ best showing since turning professional was a second place at this year’s El Bosque Mexico Championship and Derek Fathauer’s best finish was a playoff loss at this year’s Nova Scotia Open.

* Birdies were a rarity on hole No. 5 on Saturday. The only player to make a birdie was Doug LaBelle II. It was almost similar on Nos. 11 and 14. There were just two birdies on each during the round.

* None of the 66 players in today’s starting field posted a bogey-free round.

* Vaughn Taylor, who is just one stroke back, leads all players in greens in regulation after 54 holes. Taylor has hit 43 of 54 for 79.6%. He has hit 16 of 18 the last two days.

* Tony Finau was credited with a 409-yard drive on No. 12 on Saturday. That is the longest measured drive on the Web.com Tour this year. Franklin Corpening was credited with a 402-yarder at the Midwest Classic (#13, Rd. 2) and Korbin Kuehn had a 400-yarder on the same hole the same day. Finau’s drive was also the longest on Tour since Cody Slover had a 444-yarder at the 2011 Midwest Classic.

* Derek Fathauer leads all players with 14 birdies, while Andrew Loupe, Richard Sterne and Justin Thomas all have 13.

* Byron Smith was forced to withdraw after eight holes on Saturday due to a back injury.

* Adam Hadwin (T43), winner of last week’s Chiquita Classic, posted scores of 71-72-70—213 (E) and heads into the final round T14 and five shots off the pace.

* Best rounds of the day:
67 – Richard Sterne, Tom Hoge, Whee Kim
69 – J.J. Henry

* Scoring Averages for the week:
            Front (36)     Back (35)      Total (71)
R1
       36.087               35.278              71.365
R2       36.803              36.172               72.975
R3       36.969              36.785               73.754