PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic – Brice Garnett took a six-stroke lead into the wind Saturday in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. He came out with a two-stroke advantage.
Garnett bogeyed three of the final six holes in the wind and rain for a 3-under 69 and a 16-under 200 total.
“Once we made the turn coming back, all those holes coming in toward the north, it was all we wanted and then some,” Garnett said. “I kind of took advantage of some holes going out, some holes downwind, some par 5s, and then we were just trying to leave it in the right spot those last four or five holes. Pars are pretty good scores on those holes.”
Canadian Corey Conners was second after a 67, and Tyler McCumber also had a 67 to get to 12 under. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo dropped out Friday, finishing last in the 132-man field in his PGA Tour debut. He shot 77-82 playing as an amateur on a sponsor exemption.
A stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds, Garnett opened with a bogey, birdied Nos. 2, 4 and 6, eagled the par-5 seventh, and made two more birdies on the par-3 ninth and par-5 12th. He bogeyed the par-4 13th, par-5 15th and par-3 17th.
“I looked once and the lead was a little bigger than what it is now,” Garnett said. “The eagle was huge, kind of gave me that confidence that I can push it on out and stretch it a little bit more. That wind was tough and I’ll take a two-shot lead into tomorrow.”
The 34-year-old Garnett is winless on the PGA Tour. He won twice last year on the Web.com Tour.
“You’ve got another 18 holes. So much can happen,” Garnett said. “Just going to try to keep the golf ball in front of me. I have that self-belief this week and that’s what I had last year when I won, so I’ll just keep my head down and just keep going.”
Conners had five birdies and a bogey on the front nine and added a birdie on No. 12.
“Really happy with the round,” Conners said. “I got off to a nice start, made a bunch of birdies on the front nine and kind of held it together on the back nine. It was playing really difficult. The wind was really blowing out there, made things challenging.”
McCumber, the son of 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber, has played his last 39 holes with a bogey.
“Second shots have been pretty solid,” McCumber said. “Putting pretty well, short game is pretty good. Just really being in the right areas and staying below the hole.”
Tom Lovelady was fourth at 11 under after a 68. Seamus Power (71), Denny McCarthy (71) and Seungsu Han (72) were 10 under.
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