Canada’s Adam Hadwin fired a 5-under 67 and managed to scramble to the top of a tightly-packed leaderboard at the Chile Classic, the second stop on the 2014 Web.com Tour schedule.
Hadwin was steady but not spectacular as he moved into the 54-hole lead with a 13-under 203 total, one better than Columbia’s Manuel Villegas (64), Scott Pinckney (67) and Kyle Reifers (68).
Australian Alistair Presnell (65) and South Africa’s Garth Mulroy (70) share fifth place, two shots back of Hadwin.
Eight others, including 36-hole leader Byron Smith (75) are three off the pace heading into Sunday’s finale.
For Hadwin, a non-winner in his first two full seasons on Tour, this week has been about keeping things simple at the Prince of Wales Country Club.
“Some might say I’m a little conservative off the tee than others. I’ve hit a lot of 4-irons off the tees,” he said. “I’m coming into greens with 8-irons or 9-irons instead of challenging it. I haven’t been in too much trouble this week and I feel like I’m starting to play smart golf and play to my strengths.”
Hadwin chalked up six birdies to offset a single bogey and slowly moved into contention as the second-round leaders all struggled to pull away from the field. Only three of the final ten players on the course Saturday managed to break par and the final pairing of Smith and Argentina’s Jorge Fernandez-Valdes both stumbled to over-par scores and dropped in the standings.
“The golf course layout is short and it plays short but if you miss the fairway by five yards left or right you don’t have a shot on some of these doglegs,” said Hadwin, who had never held or shared a lead in any of his first 48 Tour starts. “If your rhythm is not quite there it’s very easy to start missing stuff in the wrong place and bogeys will come quickly.”