ROBERTO CASTRO LEADS BY TWO SHOTS AFTER 54 HOLES AT NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Third-Round Leaderboard

 

Pos. Name Score
1 Roberto Castro 70-68-68—206 (-7)
2 Harold Varner III 70-72-66—208 (-5)
Robert Garrigus 69-72-67—208 (-5)
Zack Fischer 72-67-69—208 (-5)
5 Andrew Loupe 71-70-68—209 (-4)

 

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 26: during the third round of the Web.com Tour Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship at The Ohio State University Golf Club on September 26, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

ROBERTO CASTRO LEADS BY TWO SHOTS AFTER 54 HOLES AT NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Columbus, Ohio – Roberto Castro fired a 3-under 68 Saturday and moved into the 54-hole lead at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, the third of four Web.com Tour Finals events.

Castro has avoided mistakes better than anyone in the field this week and his 7-under 206 total is two shots better than Harold Varner III (66), Robert Garrigus (67) and Zack Fischer (69).

Andrew Loupe (68) is three shots off the pace heading into the final round at the Ohio State University Golf Club’s treacherous Scarlet Course.

Derek Ernst (71), Rhein Gibson (72) and second-round leader Martin Flores (73) are four strokes back.

“I played nicely today,” said the leader. “This golf course is something else. I would love to know on three or four holes a day if there was a single birdie in the entire field. There are only so many birdie opportunities out there.”

Castro has converted nine of his birdie chances the first three days but more importantly he’s made only two bogeys, the fewest in the field. The Georgia Tech grad isn’t giving up on birdies but he’s cautious when it comes to attacking pins.

“If you get into that mode (of giving up) you start going the other direction,” he said. “You’re trying to make birdies but there are three or four holes out there where you have to make a 30-footer.”

Castro hit the bell with a couple of 20-footers down the stretch and gave himself a little breathing room at the three-quarter mark.

“I haven’t won in a long time,” he noted. “I played out here for a year and four years on the PGA TOUR and I haven’t won. That’s a focus. That’s something I want to do.”

Varner moved into contention with his 5-under 66, the best round of the week.

“I’ve been hitting it everywhere,” he said. “I’m still hitting it everywhere but I’m just finding a way to score. I’m getting up and down when I miss the green and obviously making the putts when I get the chance.”

Varner didn’t hit many fairways (only 6 of 14) but still managed to give himself plenty of chances by knocking it on 14 greens in regulation.

“At least I’m hitting it in a vicinity where I can find it,” he added.

Varner rolled in six birdies in a nine-hole stretch midway through the round and moved up the leaderboard. The 25-year old East Carolina grad is also looking to move up the money list after finishing the Tour’s Regular Season No. 25 on the money list.

“Pressure is a privilege. When pressure comes around you’re obviously doing something right,” he said. “I’ve never won so that motivates me more than anything. I’m moving up slowly. I don’t know what number I need to get to, but I think a win would help a lot.”

Garrigus bombed his way around the Scarlet layout and added his name to the leaderboard.

“I was piping it down the middle, hitting it long and hitting really good iron shots,” he said. “I’m pretty sure it was silly how far I was hitting it. I was hitting a perfect high draw right in the middle of the face.”

SATURDAY NOTES:

* Saturday weather: Mostly cloudy. Wind E-SE 8-1 mph. High of 73

* Sunday’s play will be in threesomes off the 1st and 10th tees. Times will run from 9:30-11:30 a.m. with an expected finish time of 4:30 p.m. ET.

* This week’s purse is $1M with $180,000 awarded to the champion.

* This is the third tournament in the Web.com Tour Finals, a series of four events that will conclude at the Web.com Tour Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Sept. 28-Oct. 4. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards were awarded two weeks ago following the WinCo Foods Portland Open. An additional 25 cards are up for grabs during the four Finals events, as well as positioning for all 50 cards.

* This is the third year of the Finals format and it’s difficult to estimate exactly how much money it will take to finish in the top-25 on the Finals money list and collect one of the remaining 25 PGA TOUR cards that will be handed out in a few weeks. Here’s how much money the No. 25 man on the money list earned in each of the past two years:
2013    No. 25 Bobby Gates    $33,650.00
2014    No. 25 Eric Axley       $36,311.66
2015    No. 25 ???                  ???

* With two of the four Finals completed, it’s still difficult to gauge exactly how much money it will take to secure a top-25 spot on the money list, but history dictates that something over the $40,000 mark could be enough to garner a 2015-16 PGA TOUR card. Here is a list of those 10 players who have topped that number after two events and how they finished in the Hotel Fitness Championship and Small Business Connection Championship at River Run, respectively and how they have fared this week:
– Chez Reavie                 $203,000         T10, 1st
– Henrik Norlander      $180,000          1st, m/c
– Emiliano Grillo           $103,666           9th, T2         missed the cut
– Michael Thompson    $90,630             T2, T56
– Brett Stegmaier           $71,000             8th, 5th        withdrew after 1st round
– Ricky Barnes                $50,500            T16, 6
– Anirban Lahiri             $49,500            T6, T16        did not play
– Kyle Stanley                  $46,750            T16, T7        missed the cut
– Hiroshi Iwata                $44,000           T4, m/c
– Sam Saunders               $44,000           T4, dnp

* D.H. Lee (78) withdrew after completing the third round. Lee is already assured of a PGA TOUR card next season thanks to his 15th-place finish on the Web.com Tour’s Regular Season money list. Lee improved his position to 5h in the Priority Rankings with a T2 finish at the Hotel Fitness Championship and a T39 at the Small Business Connection Championship at River Run a week ago. The 28-year old from Korea will take a streak of 17 consecutive cuts into next week’s Tour Championship.

* Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano was disqualified for failing to sign his scorecard after the round.

* For the second time in 51 starts on the Web.com Tour, Roberto Castro holds the outright 54-hole lead. In 2010, Castro had a one-stroke advantage entering Sunday’s final round at the Air Capital Classic, carded an even-par 71 and finished one-stroke behind champion Jhonatthan Vegas.

* At the PGA TOUR’s 2013 Quicken Loans National, Castro was in a four-way tie for the 54-hole lead with James Driscoll, Bill Hass and Andres Romero after the third round. Castro posted a 2-under 69 in the final round and finished three back of Haas. The solo second is Castro’s best performance on TOUR.

* Castro has played this event twice (2011, 2014) his final-round scoring average on the Scarlet Course is 70.50.

* Castro carded scores of 72-70-81-73 for a T60 one year ago.

* Castro’s 54-hole summary: 29 of 42 fairways, 38 of 54 greens, 4 of 6 sand saves and 85 putts.

* Castro finished T44 at the Hotel Fitness Championship to begin the Finals and added a T9 last week at the Small Business Connection Championship at River Run.

* Last year, Justin Thomas, Derek Fathauer and Richard Sterne were deadlocked at 5-under-par after 54 holes. Thomas and Sterne each carded 1-under 70s in the final round to force a playoff. Thomas defeated Sterne with a birdie on the first extra hole to earn his first Web.com Tour victory.

* This week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship is Robert Garrigus’ first made cut in this year’s Web.com Tour Finals.

* In 25 starts on the PGA TOUR this season Garrigus made 11 cuts but did not record a top-10 finish.

“I was just so mind boggled at how my golf has been this year. I’ve taken everything that I’ve learned in my entire career and putting it into this golf tournament.”

* Harold Varner III finished the Regular Season No. 25 on the money list and earned the final PGA TOUR card awarded at the conclusion of the WinCo Foods Portland Open. On Saturday, while Varner played his way into contention in Columbus, OH, his sister, Jatcie, was saying her wedding vows in Greensboro, N.C.

“I sent her a text message this morning. She was pretty busy. I don’t think she even replied back. It’s a big day for her. Obviously I wish I could be there.”

* In August, after an opening-round 76 at the Utah Championship, Zack Fischer fired 64-68-66 and finished T3, his best performance on Tour this season.

* Fischer has made one of two cuts in The Finals and finished T56 at last week’s Small Business Connection Championship.

* Andrew Loupe finished birdie-birdie and posted 68 to get into contention. The 26-year-old from Baton Rouge, La. finished T22 at the Hotel Fitness Championship and T53 Small Business Connection Championship at River Run. Loupe entered the week No. 58 in The Finals standings.

“I thought I did a good job of blocking that out today. Really, I know where I am. I’m not faking it like I don’t think about it. I’m just trying to embrace it and take it on. You know, it’s a huge moment for me. It’s not like I’m going to say it’s not.”

* Scoring averages for the week:
Front (36)        Back (35)         Total (71)         Cumulative
R1
      36.648             36.328             72.976                —
R2
      37.177              35.509             72.686               72.832
R3
      36.625             36.111              72.736                72.794

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