Despite the dearth of Top-30-ranked players in the field at the 2013 Frys.com Open at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, CA, two more players knocked at the door of the course record today during third-round play. Andres Gonzalez, a 2006 UNLV grad, posted a 62 during second-round play on Thursday, and today Florida’s George MacNeill, the 2007 Frys.com Open champion, and Texas-based golfer Jimmy Walker both fired 9-under 62s – each with a single bogey that meant the difference between tying the existing record or setting a new one.
McNeill’s bogey came with a three-putt on the twelfth hole, a split-fairway par-5 which, despite its daunting appearance, has played a fraction under par for the first three days of the tournament. Walker came to grief on the sixth hole, an uphill par-4 of 489 yards, when he drove into the right-hand fairway bunker and could only manage a 55-yard punch shot out of the bunker to the fairway. Walker’s third shot came up short of the green, requiring him to pitch on before making a short putt for bogey.
Stockton native Ricky Barnes posted a 7-under-par 64 this afternoon, just two strokes back of Walker and McNeill’s low numbers. Barnes went out in 2-under 33, with birdies on holes 3 and 8, but really hit his stride on the back nine, with five more birdies, including back-to-back birds on the last two holes, for a back side 31. Barnes’ three-round total of 204 (71-69-64) has him tied for 12th at the end of the third day of the tournament.
Florida-based pro Will Mackenzie, a North Carolina native currently living in Jupiter, FL, also posted a 64 today, carding nine birdies against two bogeys on CordeValle’s 7,379-yard, par-71 Robert Trent Jones II-designed course. Mackenzie is T-7 with a three-round total of 203 (70-69-64).
Fresno-born golfer Kevin Chappell posted another low round on a clean card, a bogey-free 65, moving into the group tied at 9-under with Barnes and 2011 Frys.com runner-up Briny Baird.
Baird, who played off with eventual winner Bryce Molder over six playoff holes in 2011 before the matter was settled, carded rounds of 71-68-65 for his 54-hole total of 204.
Vijay Singh, who feels he is still competitive on the PGA Tour despite having reached his 50th birthday last February, posted a 6-under 65 today, which combined with his previous rounds of 69 and 67 to give him a 54-hole total of 201, was good for a tie for fourth place going into the last round of the tournament.
Thirty-six hole leader Brooks Koepka shot a 67 today to retain the tournament lead after 54 holes.
Homa tops NorCal card after third round
Among players with Bay Area or Northern California connections, 2013 Cal graduate Max Homa, of Valencia, CA, sits highest on the leaderboard at the end of 54 holes, at T-7. Homa, a member of the Cal squad that racked up 11 victories in 13 tournaments during the 2012-2013 season, and narrowly missed a national championship, posted rounds of 69-68-66 for a 54-hole total of 203.
Homa’s 5-under third round included a run of three consecutive birdies on the front nine, at holes 5, 6, and 7, and an eagle at the drivable par-4 seventeenth hole.
Set up for drama with a forward tee box and a friendly hole location at the focus of the bowl-shaped green, 17 collected three eagles and thirty-one birdies today. Homa hit the green at the 17th hole with a drive to the back slope of the green that rolled back to below the hole, leaving him to make a 25-foot putt for the eagle.
Four bogeys, at holes 2, 9, 11 and 16, the result of approach shots gone slightly awry and one three-putt green, at hole #9, were all that stood between the past Pac-12 and NCAA individual champion and a slot even higher on the leaderboard.
Due to the short days at this time of the year, the players will again start off of split tees in groups of three in the fourth round. Homa tees off Sunday morning at 11:45, in a grouping with Will Mackenzie and South Carolina’s Ben Martin. Former Cal Bear Charlie Wi, who carded a 3rd-round 66 to post 204 for 54 holes, is two groups ahead of Homa, also off of tee #1, with England’s Brian Davis and first round leader Jeff Overton.