Andrew Alligood survived a wild Saturday at the Bupa Championship presented by Volvo to take a one-shot lead into the final round. A third-round of even-par 72 was sufficient for the 24-year-old from Jacksonville, Florida, to surge ahead at the demanding PGA Riviera Maya course, where a quintuple bogey-10 on No. 8 couldn’t write him off.
“It was a wild day. It was a lot of birdies and a lot of others for all of us,” said Alligood of the drama unfolding at the Robert Trent Jones II-designed course, sit of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s season-ending tournament.
With the 72 that gave him the lead, Alligood finished at 3-under 213, one shot ahead of 36-hole leader Ben Cook, who made eight 5s on the back nine to shoot 76 and lose grasp of the seven-shot lead he enjoyed with nine holes left to play. At 2-under, Cook is joined by Canada’s Drew Nesbitt, who had five birdies in a row halfway through a round of 72.
Mexico’s Oscar Fraustro birdied the last two holes to card a third-round-low 68 to move into a four-way tie for fourth. The other three players at 1-under for the week are his countryman Raúl Pereda, who has shot 6-under for his last 36 holes, Frenchman Jeremy Gandon and American Patrick Newcomb.
Off to a strong start, with birdies on Nos. 3, 4, 6 and 7, Alligood was within one shot of the lead before a 10 on No. 8 that could have been the end for him.
“I was hitting 3-wood really good all day off the tee, and the wind was a little different than days before on that hole, so I figured I could try to take driver, and it didn’t work out very well. It took me a while to get it in the hole from there,” he said with a laugh when asked about his missteps at the 547-yard par-5, where he hit it twice into the jungle.
So, how did he manage to put the 10 out of his mind?
“I mean, you have to do your best to just ignore it. You can’t sit there and think negatively about it. You have to kind of just move on, and I was able to birdie the next hole and played the back nine pretty solid from there, so I did a good job at just putting it behind me, kind of laugh at it and move on,” explained the University of North Florida alum, who shot even-par on the back nine, with a birdie on 14 and a bogey on 15.
Alligood reached the final hole tied for the lead with Cook, who had one last, bad break when his great approach shot spun off the green and cost him a bogey. “I guess at the beginning of the week (if) you tell me I’m one back going to the final day, I’m probably pretty happy, but it sucks when you shoot 43 on the back. That’s terrible, I had all 5s and one 3,” said a disappointed Cook in disbelief after making five bogeys and a double bogey on the back nine.
On Sunday, the final round will be played in threesomes, starting off Nos. 1 and 10 at 7:53 a.m. The final group of Alligood, Cook and Nesbitt will tee it off at 9:50 a.m., off No. 1. Alligood and Cook will enter the final day of the 2020-21 season with a chance to break inside the Points List top 10, while Nesbitt is hoping to break inside the top-five or with a good share of luck to walk away with Player of the Year honors. The stakes will be high for the final trio and for several others Sunday.
The 58 players who made the cut accounted for a scoring average of 74.79 Saturday at PGA Riviera Maya. The scoring average was at 76.43 Thursday and at 76.51 Friday.
Tour No. 1 Brandon Matthews carded a 5-over 77 Saturday to drop into a tie for 31st, but he remains in position to finish the season in the top spot on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Points List.
This is how the players inside the Points List top 10 sit after 54 holes:
|Ranking||Player||Position, Score||Projected Points List|
|1.||Brandon Matthews (U.S.)||T31, 73-72-77 (6-over)||1|
|2.||Conner Godsey (U.S.)||T35, 69-78-76 (7-over)||3|
|3.||Sam Stevens (U.S.)||T13, 75-71-73 (3-over)||2|
|4.||Álvaro Ortiz (Mexico)||T13, 74-70-75 (3-over)||5|
|5.||MJ Maguire (U.S.)||T13, 74-70-75 (par)||6|
|6.||Alexandre Rocha (Brazil)||T23, 71-76-74 (5-over)||7|
|7.||Drew Nesbitt (Canada)||T2, 71-71-72 (2-under)||4|
|8.||Jacob Bergeron (U.S.)||CUT, 73-83 (12-over)||8|
|9.||Leandro Marelli (Argentina)||CUT, 76-75 (7-over)||13|
|10.||Andrés Gallegos (Argentina)||8, 72-74-70 (par)||10|
Led by Oscar Fraustro and Raul Pereda, who are only two shots behind, six Mexican players are inside the top 13 heading into Sunday. There were 15 local players in the field, and the following are the positions and scores for the nine who remain in contention:
|T4, 70-77-68 (-1)||Oscar Fraustro|
|T4, 77-68-70 (-1)||Raul Pereda|
|T11, 70-75-73 (+2)||Aaron Terrazas|
|T13, 74-75-70 (+3)||Rodolfo Cazaubón|
|T13, 75-71-73 (+3)||Juan Carlos Benítez|
|T13, 74-70-75 (+3)||Alvaro Ortiz|
|T43, 71-77-77 (+9)||Jorge Villar|
|T53, 78-72-78 (+12)||Isidro Benítez|
|58, 75-75-83 (+17)||Gonzalo Rubio|
“That’s the thing with this golf course. If you get mentally lazy, like I did on eight today, on many of the shots I took, it can really bite you very quickly.”—Andrew Alligood
“[Sunday] my only goal is to put myself in the best mindset before every shot, and I know from there it will take care of itself.”—Andrew Alligood
“I was never ahead until the last hole, I never had a mindset of leading, I was still technically chasing. I was trying to get myself ahead.”—Andrew Alligood
“Anything can happen here. Every round so far I have made many bogeys or double bogeys and still managed to make birdies to come back, so it’s just a complete whirlwind of emotions out there.” —Drew Nesbitt
“You gotta stay true to yourself and just make sure you are hitting every shot to the best of your ability. If you can commit to each shot and just play every shot as best you can, hopefully the scores will work out in the end.” —Drew Nesbitt
“This course is absolutely difficult. Tee to green you have to hit it good, and you have to grind. You have to make sure you are prepared to play every day and be just willing to get over the poor shots because they are going to happen.” —Drew Nesbitt
“If you hit it in the trees, more than likely you are going to lose the ball, let alone have a shot to hit it out.” —Drew Nesbitt
“I mean, I have a chance to mathematically even win the Points List, so it’s maybe the biggest day of my life in a way [Sunday. I’m sure not going to take it lightly. I gotta go do some rest and relaxation tonight and then come back [Sunday] with a positive mentality and play the best round I can.” —Drew Nesbitt
“[Sunday] the first nine holes will be a warm-up. The tournament will go down to the final nine holes. This is a course where anything can happen. I opened with a 77 Thursday and here I am, only two shots off the lead.” —Raul Pereda
Sunny in the morning and cloudy in the afternoon. Hot and humid, with a high of 90. Wind variable at 6 mph.