Rodríguez and Hagy share 54-hole lead at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship
||José de Jesús Rodríguez
COLUMBUS, Ohio – José de Jesús Rodríguez and Brandon Hagy share the 54-hole lead at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. A trio of players including Ben Martin, Scottie Scheffler and Scott Harrington sit one stroke off the pace at 8-under 205.
Hagy began his third round in calming fashion with pars on his first three holes. The 28-year-old tallied his first birdie of the day at the par-5 fourth and added another at the par-4 seventh. He carded his first bogey of the round on the par-3 eighth but quickly rebounded with a birdie at the ninth to make the turn at 9-under for the week.
On his back nine, the Santa Monica, California, native recorded seven pars and one birdie against one bogey to finish the third round tied for the lead at 9-under.
“I drove the ball well off the tee again, so it gave me a lot of opportunities to have scoring clubs in,” said Hagy, who hit 10 of 14 fairways on Saturday. “I made some good five? to 10?foot putts to kind of keep it going on the front nine and the beginning of the back nine. Overall, I’m happy with it.”
In early 2018, Hagy was sidelined by a hairline fracture in his left wrist that forced him to miss five months of golf. During the 2018-2019 PGA TOUR season, he made just one cut in 13 PGA TOUR starts and missed the cut in his only start on the Korn Ferry Tour earlier this year. After a missed cut at the Travelers Championship in June, he decided to shut down his game and regroup before returning to competition.
Last week, Hagy returned to his home state to compete in the Long Beach Open. A T41 finish in California was all he needed to get the competitive drive going again heading into the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
“It was good,” Hagy said of last week’s event. “I hadn’t played in about a month and a half and had several of my friends actually that were playing there. It was a good week to knock the rust off.”
Sitting tied atop the leaderboard is José de Jesús Rodríguez who fired a 6-under 65 on Saturday, matching Richy Werenski for the low round of the day. Rodríguez began the third round in a tie for 17th but soared up the leaderboard with birdies on his opening three holes. He carded his lone bogey of the day on the par-3 fifth but rebounded with a birdie on No. 6 to make the turn at 6-under.
The 38-year-old continued his strong play into the back nine, carding birdies on Nos. 10 and 12. He added his seventh birdie of the day on his final hole, moving him to 9-under and into a tie for the lead.
“Today was a spectacular day,” Rodríguez said. “I was very consistent from start to finish. I hit it good off the tee and had chances on the green. The putts were very good, too.”
Rodríguez finished his rookie campaign on the PGA TOUR ranked 177th in the FedExCup standings. The Irapuato, Mexico, native made 10 cuts in 23 starts and recorded three top-25s throughout the season, including a T11 at the Barbasol Championship.
Last year, Rodríguez earned his first Korn Ferry Tour title at the United Leasing & Finance Championship. The event was played at Victoria National Golf Club, home of the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance. Rodríguez would go on to finish the Regular Season 12th in The 25, earning him his 2018-2019 PGA TOUR card.
Entering Sunday’s final round, Rodríguez knows a return to the PGA TOUR is on the line.
“I’m going to go do the same thing, you know,” he said. “Keep hitting it straight. I’m going to enjoy the game (and trust that) the score is good.”
Ben Martin, Scottie Scheffler and Scott Harrington trail by one stroke after three rounds at the Scarlet Course. Jamie Arnold, Anirban Lahiri, Beau Hossler, Ben Taylor and Viktor Hovland sit just two shots off the lead in a tie for sixth at 7-under 206.
- Saturday’s weather: Mostly cloudy, with a high of 85. Wind W/SW at 7-14 mph, gusting to 18 mph.
- Low round of the day: 65, Richy Werenski, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez.
- Mexico’s José de Jesús Rodríguez ranks No. 1 in putting through 54 holes with 26.3 putts per round.
- Brandon Hagy leads the driving distance category through 54 holes with an average of 345.8 yards.
- Ten of 23 third-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win this season, most recently Kristoffer Ventura at the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Chevrolet.
- Of the players who earned PGA TOUR cards by finishing in The 25 of the Regular Season, only Scottie Scheffler (No. 3) and Scott Harrington (No. 19) are within three strokes of the lead. Xinjun Zhang, the player in the No. 1 position at the conclusion of the Regular Season, sits T41 at 1-under.
- Three players posted bogey-free rounds: Richy Werenski (65), Vincent Whaley (67) and Davis Riley (68).
- Four eagles were recorded in round three: Dominic Bozzelli and Ben Taylor at No. 4, and Cameron Davis and Scott Harrington at the 12th
- Australia’s Jamie Arnold (T6/-7) has played his last 43 holes 11-under after sitting 4-over through 10 holes of the opening round.
- Second-round leader Kevin Dougherty (T11/-6) ranks T1 in fairways hit through 54 holes with 33 of 43 (78.57%).
- Defending champion Robert Streb (T18/-4) has played the front-nine 7-under and the back-nine 3-over through 54 holes.
- Mark Hubbard’s (T35/-2) third-round 69 included a front-nine 39 (+3) and a back-nine 30 (-5), the low nine-hole score of any player this week.
- Local favorite Bo Hoag (T50/E) was a standout for the Ohio State Buckeyes before turning professional. He won his first Korn Ferry Tour title at last week’s event in Portland to earn his PGA TOUR card for the 2019-20 season.
- Former US Presidents Cup team member Kevin Chappell (T61/+2) returned to the tournament where he made his professional debut in 2008, finishing T40 that week. Chappell, who has been recovering from microdiscectomy surgery, last competed at the PGA TOUR’s 2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic.
- All five of the players tied for sixth at 7-under represent five different countries: Jamie Arnold (Australia), Anirban Lahiri (India), Beau Hossler (United States), Ben Taylor (England) and Viktor Hovland (Norway).
- This week’s purse is $1,000,000, with $180,000 going to the champion. The winner will also receive 1,000 Korn Ferry Tour
- The par-3 fifth hole (233 yards) ranked as the toughest hole on the course Saturday, playing to an average of 3.280.
- The par-5 12th hole (562 yards) ranked as the easiest hole on Saturday. The hole played to an average of 4.547 and yielded two eagles and 35
*Ohio State University Golf Club – Scarlet Course Scoring Average:
Front Back Total Cumulative
R1 36.232 35.580 71.812
R2 35.933 35.642 71.575 71.693
R3 35.413 35.173 70.587 71.342
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