Low round 63 vaults Schniederjans into sole second place
Luke Schniederjans came out of the starting blocks like a world class sprinter, sinking a 70-foot putt on the first hole to record his first birdie of the day. He followed it up with another birdie on the next hole – the 524 yard, par-5 second to get to 2-under. Another birdie on the 4th hole, a 534 yard par-5 made it -3 under thru 4 holes – he would not look back all day.
Schniederjans entered the back nine having gone out with a score of 33. As impressive as his start to the round was, it was the back nine where his play shone through, recording back-to-back birdies on the par-3, 11th hole and the par-5, 12th hole to get to -5 under at that point. He saved the fireworks for the final stretch holes, having aced the 179-yard, par-3 to take him down to -7 under. Another birdie on the 17th hole, a 544-yard par-5 dropped his score to -8 under. A par on the 18th hole must surely have seemed anticlimactic by comparison.
“It was a good round, and I’ll try to put up another good round (Sunday)” said Schniederjans regarding his goal for the final round. As for what to look for, he said the course will offer up some unique challenges, “the course is kind of interesting because it’s a lot of irons and 5-woods off the tee. But it challenges your iron play and you’ve got to hit your irons good out here.” Schniederjans goes into Sunday with sole possession of second place at -10 under, and 3-shots behind the leader, Noah Goodwin.
If Luke Schniederjans started his round like a sprinter out of the starting blocks, then Jacob Solomon’s round of 63 today would have been similar to the way Olympic champion Usain Bolt started his races – with a slightly slower start, but hitting full stride a couple of lengths in. For Solomon, a product of Auburn University, he started with a par on the opening hole and then like Bolt, hit his full stride, recording 4-consecutive birdies from the 2nd thru the 5th hole. After 2-more pars on the 6th and 7th holes, he finished the front nine with back to back birdies on holes 8 and 9, going out with a score of 30 and -6 under for the front.
By comparison, the back nine must have been extremely quiet as he added a birdie on the 12th hole to take his score down to -7 under before he railed off 5-straight pars before one las birdie on the 18th hole to finish with his 63 and -8 under for the tournament. For his part, Solomon said of his round today that “I love playing on the weekend. I love playing the twosomes. It’s just good vibes. Now that you’ve made the cut, it’s kind of stress-free. Let’s go try and win the tournament.” Solomon enters Sunday with a share of 4th place along with four other players at -8 under.
Despite the two low rounds from Solomon and Schniederjans, the day belonged to Noah Goodwin, who finished the day with a score of 68 to take him down to -13 under and a 3-stroke lead. Goodwin entered play this morning having been the leader the past two days on the strength of his opening round 64 on Thursday and a 68 yesterday. Going off in the last group today, Goodwin birdied the par-5, 2nd hole and then birdied again on the par-5, 4th hole. A birdie on the 415 yard par-4, 8th hole coupled with a par on the 9th hole saw him make the turn in 33 shots (-3 under).
It was on the 416 yard, par-4 10th hole where Goodwin encountered his first real trouble this week, recording a double bogey 6. It was the first double-bogey that he recorded and his first real obstacle that could have halted his momentum. Nonetheless, he was able to shake it off, and steady his play stringing together 6-straight pars before he approached the par-5, 17th hole. With Schniederjans already in the clubhouse with his 63, Goodwin stood on the 17th tee box with a 1-stroke lead. With 2-swings of the club, Goodwin managed to reach the green with a 13-foot putt for a look at eagle. Seizing the opportunity, Goodwin sank the putt, regaining his two strokes dropped on the 10th, restoring his lead to 3-shots.
“I just kept giving myself opportunities. Kept rolling it really well, kept giving myself looks. Then I was able to get the eagle back on No.17, which was huge for the momentum and everything,” said Goodwin. “I played my game and kept it smart out there. I was just trying to stay patient.”
The top Canadian is Jared du Toit from Kimberley, B.C. who finished today’s round carding a 67 to take his three day total to 205, and -8 under for a share of 4th place. Heading into the final round tomorrow, du Toit will start the day 5-shots back of Goodwin. He will be in the third to last pairing along with Dylan Meyer, with a starting time of 12:30 p.m. Despite the 5-stroke gap between himself and the leader, du Toit remains optimistic. “I’m excited for a chance. Any time you put yourself in contention after three days you did a good job. You kind of get rewarded with some pressure (on Sunday).”
Teeing off tomorrow in the penultimate pairing will be Jacob Solomon and Cameron Sisk with a starting time of 12:40 p.m. The final pairing of Noah Goodwin and Luke Schniederjans will tee of 10 minutes later.