Sierra Nevada Golf Media Service
David Vanegas of Medellin, Colombia shot a 5-under par 67 to take the 54-hole lead at 18-under 198 in the Stage One Web.com Tour Qualifier at Dayton Valley Golf Club.
Damian Telles of The Dalles, Ore moved into second place at 15-under 201 carding a 4-under 68 on the day.
Bryden Macpherson of Jupiter, Fla. shot the low round of the tournament with a 9-under 63 to move up 16 places into a tie for third at 14-under 202 with second round leader Gavin Green of Selangor, Malaysia who shot even par 72.
Trevor Simsby of Carlsbad, Calif. shot 6-under 66 to move into solo fifth place at 13-under 203. Neil Johnson, River Falls, Wisc., Mark Stevens, Pembroke, N.H. and amateur Cameron Davis of Sydney, Australia are tied for sixth place at 11-under 205.
Macpherson narrowly missed a 7-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole that would have given him a tie for the course record 62. The Melbourne, Australia native had 10 birdies and just one bogey in his round that included six birdies on the back nine.
“I might have made the eagle putt if I had known it meant something,” he mused. “But really I played very nicely. I was patient on the front and hit a lot of good wedge shots on the back. It’s always fun to shoot great scores, I think that’s my third 63 in competition.”
It should be no surprise that the 26-year old is rising to the top of the leaderboard as he has quite a resume. Following a stellar amateur career in Australia, he played for the Georgia Bulldogs where he was teammates with current PGA stars Harris English, Hudson Swafford and Russell Henley. They were runners-up to Georgia State in the 2011 NCAA Championship where Macpherson went 3-0 in match play.
He won the 2014 Oder of Merit on the PGA China Tour that earned him a fully-exempt spot on the 2015 Web.com Tour and he also qualified for the 2106 Web.com Tour season. He has played in the Masters in 2012 and two British Open Championships.
Funny thing is that he might not have been in the Dayton field this year at all. It was his fifth choice on the application list of first stage qualifying sites.
“I was disappointed that my season this year was better than 2015 but not good enough but I knew I had to go forward to do what I have to do and start at first stage again,” he explained. “A friend of my who played on the women’s team at UNLV told me that the greens at Dayton were really good. It’s a long way from where I live in Florida so I didn’t put it high on the list.
“But I’m glad I ended up here because I knew the greens would be good but they have exceeded all expectations,” he said. “If you get in position on the greens you can expect to make putts.”
Players encountered significant wind during the last three hours of the third round for the first time during the tournament. Strong winds are forecast for the final round and will be a big factor in how the course plays and where scores will fall.
When asked how he likes playing in windy conditions, Macpherson replied, “I won the British Amateur in 2011, so I don’t think it will be a problem.”
Telles is playing in his second Dayton Web.com Q-school. He will be prepared for the wind as his first trip here was in 2013 when the wind blew hard for the final two rounds.
“It’s a lot nicer this year even with a little wind this afternoon,” he said. “I’m glad I built a good cushion so I can play smart in the final round and cruise on to get ready for the second stage.”
A major difference between a regular professional tournament and a qualifier is that there is as much drama in the battle for the final qualifying positions as there is for the top spot on the leaderboard. Two players significantly improved their chances of qualifying with low third rounds.
Matt Seramin of San Geronimo, Calif. fired a 7-under 65 to move up 28 spots into a tie for 19th at 7-under 209. Matt Williams of San Jose, Calif. carded a 6-under 66 to move up 24 spots to a tie for 33rd at 4-under and within reach of the final spot.
If the tournament ended today, the cut line for qualifying would be at 6-under par, with 24 players theoretically advancing. The final cut could be anywhere between 4 and 7-under par depending upon the wind. Final round performance will be crucial for many players in the field. As many as 26 players will battle for the final 10 qualifying spots as 20 players are within three shots just below the current cutline.
NOTES: First tee-off for the final round has been moved up to 8 am from 9 am in anticipation of windy conditions in tomorrow’s forecast.
Forty-nine players in the now 69-player field are under par. The field has played to an average score of 70.94 for 54-holes.
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