Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gomez leads Nationwide Tour event after 64

GREENVILLE, South Carolina -- Fabian Gomez had a simple goal at this week's Nationwide Tour event, BMW Charity Pro-Am: The 31-year-old from Argentina wanted to finish one spot higher than he did a year ago. While it may not seem like much, considering that Gomez lost a play-off to Aberdeen-born Australian Michael Sim in 2009, the goal becomes easier said that done.
Gomez put himself in prime position to reach the summit with an 8-under 64 in Saturday's third round, giving him an 18-under par 197 total and a one-stroke lead heading into Sunday's finale. Gomez has posted scores of 64-69-64 at three different courses, polishing off his play Saturday at the Bright's Creek Golf Club in Mill Spring, N.C.
His total is one shot better than his 198 score a year ago when he entered the final round at the Thornblade Club in Greenville three strokes back of Sim. This time, he's up by one over Nebraska's Scott Gutschewski, who shot a 5-under 67 at the tournament's other course, Carolina Country Club in nearby Spartanburg.
Aussie Adam Bland shot a 6-under 66 at Bright's Creek to reach 16-under 199 and is alone in third place. Michigan's Justin Hicks is tied for fourth place with Ryan Armour and Kevin Chappell, winner of the Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, Calif., four weeks ago.
"My putter has been really hot and that gives me confidence in the rest of my game," said Gomez, who has a lone double bogey on Friday marring an otherwise perfect 54-hole tally. "I have good memories of this tournament from last year."
Gomez and his amateur partner, former Golf Channel anchor Jennifer Mills, are at 37 under par and in second place in the pro-am portion of the event. They trail Gutschewski and his parter, Rolf Klam, by a single shot.
"I like to play a pro-am where it's one pro and one amateur because you don't have to wait that much in between shots," said Gomez. "She's a great partner and we are joking during the round. It's fun, really fun."
Gomez broke into the winner's circle for the first time his career earlier this year at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open and comes into the week No. 4 on the 2010 money list.
Gutschewski, a 33-year-old transplanted Texan, is No. 19 on the money list and looking for his third career title.
"I'd say anyone within six shots has a chance because you go really low at Thornblade Club," he said. "I think it will be a shootout tomorrow. Let's see who can take it deep out there."
Gutschewski's round didn't get into gear quickly on Saturday. While he didn't make a bogey all day, he also didn't chalk up his first birdie until the eighth hole.
"I just didn't give myself any real opportunities," he said of his start. "The problem is that I was a little squirrely off the tees, which made it tough because unlike the other courses, there's some rough out here."
Third-Round Notes: Sonny Skinner aced the 190-yard ninth hole at Thornblade using a 5-iron. ... Bronson La'Cassie had a hole-in-one at the 210-yard sixth hole at Bright's Creek using a 5-iron.
Ryan Armour continues his solid, consistent season. Armour is now a perfect 9-for-9 in cuts made this year. He finished tied for 10th at the Stadion Athens Classic two weeks ago, his best finish in 2010. He came into the week No. 42 on the money list. ... Tag Ridings is also a perfect 9-for-9 in cuts made. Ridings has seven top-25 finishes in his previous eight starts, including four top-10s. Ridings, who is staying at former Clemson standout Charles Warren's house this week, entered the week No. 7 on the money list.
Former Clemson standout Tommy Biershenk tied the Carolina CC record with a 10-under 62. Biershenk had seven birdies, two eagles and a bogey on his round. He matched the 62 set by Scott Parel in the second round last year. Biershenk started the day tied for 88th and finished it tied for 17th, a jump of 71 places. ... Ewan Porter withdrew during the round at Carolina CC.
Second-year pro Jhonatan Vegas of Venezuela leads the tournament with 21 birdies. Vegas chalked up 10 of them Saturday at Carolina CC while posting a 6-under 66. He started play on the back nine and stumbled with a triple-bogey and a bogey and was 2 over through his first seven holes. He then rattled off eight birdies in nine holes, starting at No. 17. Vegas is at 12 under par and tied for 12th.
.A total of 14 teams will advance to Sunday's round in the pro-am portion of the tournament. The cut for the pro-am division came at 28-under 187. Among the celebrities making the cut are Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney, baseball Hall of Famer Jim Rice and actor Kurt Russell.



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