Sunday, May 23, 2010

Veteran Riegger leads by five on Nationwide Tour

RALEIGH, North Carolina -- Veteran John Riegger continued his red-hot assault at The Rex Hospital Open, opening up a five-stroke lead after 54 holes at TPC Wakefield Plantation. Riegger was bogey-free during his eight-under 63 Saturday, leaving most of the field in his wake. The 46-year old Las Vegas resident is at 20-under 193, which broke the tournament record by four strokes.
Leaderboard: Rd. 3
Chris Nallen, playing with Riegger, carded a five-under 66 but still lost ground as the day progressed. His 15-under total leaves him as the only person within shouting distance heading into Sunday's finale.
'He could have putted into a thimble today," said Nallen of his playing partner. "John's playing great. On the front nine today, seven of his putts went in and the other two looked like they'd go in. It's going to be tough to catch him tomorrow. Somebody might have to birdie every hole."
For a while Saturday, it looked like Riegger would do just that. Starting the day at 12-under and two in front of Nallen, Riegger quickly distanced himself from the pack with eight birdies on his first 13 holes. He did chip in from off the green at No. 10 and rolled in a 20-footer for birdie at No. 11, but the rest of his birdies were from close range.
"I played about the same today as yesterday. The last two days I was thinking about 59," admitted Riegger, who was 6-under through ten holes Friday and finished with a 64. "I made five straight pars today coming in and it felt like I was shooting a million."
Riegger's assault on the record books stalled down the stretch as he took his foot off the gas pedal.
"I hit some good shots coming in," he said. "With those pins, we just didn't have good numbers. I guess I could have been more aggressive but there wasn't any need to."
Nallen will have a front row seat again on Sunday when he and the others try to figure a way to prevent Riegger from earning his second career title
"I still have to play golf. My mentality is to make as many birdies as I can this week," said Riegger, who leads the field with 21 and has only one bogey. "If I can shoot three or four-under tomorrow it's going to be pretty hard to catch me."
The rest of the field will have to hope for some kind of collapse by Riegger, whose only other win came at the 2007 LaSalle Bank Championship in Chicago.
Adam Bland and B.J. Staten, a pair of lefties who each shot a 5-under 66, share third place with Canada's Dustin Risdon (67). The three players are 12-under and a distant eight shots back.



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