Saturday, March 09, 2013


By Joe Chemycz, Tour staff
SANTIAGO, Chile – Saturday’s third round of the Chile Classic had a little bit of everything – from a course record to a home-town favourite exciting fans as he moved into contention – and when the final putts were in, three players were tied for the 54-hole lead with a host of others within shouting distance.
Georgia’s Kevin Kisner started the sun-baked birdie barrage with a blistering 11-under 61, breaking the Prince of Wales Country Club course record by three strokes and setting the target at 17-under 199.
Santiago native Benjamin Alvarado grabbed the spotlight with a 6-under 66 that gave him a share of the lead and insured a big, vocal crowd for Sunday’s finale.
Second-round leader Edward Loar of Dallas settled for a 3-under 69 after a pair of opening 65s but it was still enough give him a spot at the top.
Brice Garnett (68) is in at 16-under and one off the lead while Troy Merritt (64), Jason Gore (66) and Danny Lee (70) are three back at minus-14.
“This is a party for the people here,” said Alvarado, whose 3-putt bogey at the final hole cost him sole possession of the lead. “We don’t have many tournaments like this in Chile. I think it will be nice to have a lot of people here pushing me to win the tournament.”
Kisner caused the early buzz with nine birdies and an eagle that gave him a three-stroke lead as the final groups were heading to the third tee.
“I made a lot of 10 and 15-footers, which you do anytime you shoot low,” he said. “It seems like as soon as you look up you think ‘dang, that’s going in too.’ You start making some putts and get in the rhythm of the round and a couple of good things happen.”
It was nothing but good things for the 29-year-old former Bulldog who started slowly and was only 1 under after five holes before catching fire.
“You make a few birdies in a row on the back and then the eagle at 14 and then you’re thinking we can do something special,” he said. “Probably the more you think the more you get in your way and so you try not to do that and just keep looking at the flag. They sure are fun though. I wish they’d happen more often.”
Alvarado reeled off four birdies in a row starting at No. 8 and his 30-footer at No. 12 pushed him into the lead at minus-18. The former All-American from Arizona State then hacked his way back and forth the par-4, 14th and stumbled to a double-bogey.
“I hit a solid driver but it was in the thick rough. I tried to lay up but the rough was terrible,” he said. “I went from one to the other, then in the bunker, chunked it over the green and back in the rough. These things happen.”
Alvarado came back with two birdies in a row and looked like he’d have the lead by himself before taking three putts from 50 at the par-5, 18th.
“It looks like it’s going to be a shootout,” said Loar of the closing round. “It ought to create a pretty good atmosphere.”
Loar was solid again but couldn’t get the putts to drop and admitted he cast an eye to a leaderboard, which highlighted several players posting low numbers.
“The thing that’s difficult sometimes is when I come out here and you see guys are really taking it deep and you try not to put extra pressure on yourself to try and match it,” he said. “It’s a long four days and you’re probably going to have a spell where you don’t feel like you maximize your golf. It’s hard to shoot 65 every day.”

Saturday weather in Chile: Sunny. Wind light, from the south. High of 86.



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