Sunday, October 30, 2011


By Doug Milne, US PGA Tour staff
CHARLESTON, South Carolina: There wasn't a whole lot of going low today in the Low Country in round three of the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island. But for Jason Kokrak, his three-over 75 was low enough to reach the highest point on the leaderboard headed into Sunday's final round of the season, after which time the top-25 money winners earn their ticket to the US PGA Tour.
With a testy save for par at the 54th hole, Kokrak got to 7-under through three rounds and leads the field by one stroke on a day when strong winds got the best of most of the players in the 60-man field.
"It was a tough round with that wind," Kokrak said. "I think the only other time I had a tougher day was when I played over in Ireland, when I was 14. If it was constant here, it wouldn't have been that difficult, but it just kept switching directions."
Kokrak, of Warren, Ohio, has previously held a share of the 54-hole lead twice this year, winning both. He first won the Albertsons Boise Open, and two weeks ago won the Miccosukee Championship.
Kokrak has good reason to feel good about his position heading into Sunday's final round, as the 54-hole leader of the Nationwide Tour Championship has held on for the win 15 of the previous 17 times.
Kokrak began the week at Daniel Island Club ranked fourth on the Nationwide Tour money list. In his lone start on the US PGA Tour in 2011, he missed the cut at the Transitions Championship after Monday Qualifying.
The low round of the blustery day belonged to Augusta native Scott Brown. He followed a birdie at the first hole of the day with four others throughout the round for a bogey-free, 5-under 67. Along with Ken Duke, he trails Kokrak by just a stroke.
"With this wind, the course is playing really tough today," said Brown, who began the week 21st on the money list. "The back nine was especially tough," he added. "I hit a 7-iron from 128 yards on 17, so any birdies on the back nine are really good birdies today."
Ken Duke managed one of the few sub-par rounds on Saturday with a 2-under 70. Through three rounds, the former US TOUR player is at 6-under.
"This was a really fun day. My caddie and I agreed to stay patient and it paid off," Duke said. "I have to admit, it has been hard for me to be patient, but for the last two to three weeks, it has really been fun. It's been the way it's supposed to be."
After 54 holes, Duke is the only player projected to move from outside of the top 25 to within.
"The wind was really swirling on the back nine today. It was tough," said Camilo Benedetti, who bogeyed the par-5 18th to finish with a 2-over 74. Benedetti is 5-under and tied for fourth through three rounds.
Benedetti, who began the week ranked 49th on the money list, is left with just one round to climb into the top 25.
"I won't lie, I'm not going to stop thinking about that," he said. "I do feel the pressure, and with one round to go, I can only go out there, do my best and hope that it's good enough."
After his 10-under 62 on Friday, two-time US PGA Tour winner Daniel Chopra fell victim to the wind on Saturday, posting a 5-over 77, good for a 5-under total. He starts Sunday tied for fourth.
Third-Round Notes
• In a first, Golf Channel brought Twitter to life on today's telecast of the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island with a new interactive TV experience. "Social Media Saturday" featured senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell joining the on-air team's tournament coverage by providing live tweets from the course. Hoggard and Mell offered their own takes on what they saw, replacing traditional play-by-play commentary during select segments of the telecast.
• After today's last putt drops and the winner receives the Nationwide Tour Championship trophy, the 25 graduates will be feted at a card ceremony on the grounds of Daniel Island Club. PGATOUR.COM will begin streaming the event at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET. The ceremony will feature the graduates, US PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, Nationwide Tour president Bill Calfee and Nationwide Insurance's associate vice president John Aman, with player family, friends and associates in the audience.
• The third-round scoring average was 74.608, a full 2.608 strokes above par, making it the second-toughest single round on this Tour this year.

Par 216 (3x72)
Players from US unless stated
209 Jason Kokrak 67 67 75
210 Scott Brown 75 68 67, Ken Duke 72 68 70.
211 Garth Mulroy (S Africa) 69 71 71, Matt Every 71 68 72, Camilo Benedetti (Colombia) 67 76 74, Daniel Chopra (Sweden) 72 62 77.
214 Greg Owen (England) 71 66 77 (T14).
217 Gary Christian (England) 71 72 74 (T26).
219 Russell Knox (Scoland) 71 73 75 (T37)

+The leading 25 in the US Nationwide Tour money table at the conclusion of this event will gain automatic promotion to next season's US Tour. Gary Christian and Russell Knox are guaranteed finishing in the top 25 because of their earnings in previous tournaments this season. Greg Owen needs to win or finish second to make the top 20. He lost his US Tour card a season or two back.



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