Miami, Fla. -- (August 3, 2012) Byron Smith birdied five of the nine holes he played this morning on his way to a third round 66 which extended his lead to five strokes at PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s Final Qualifying Tournament.
The 31 year-old from Palm Desert, California birdied six holes 10-13, 16 and 18 to improve his aggregate score to 15-under par 201 through 54 holes of play at Doral’s Great White Course.
“I played really well. I could have even gotten two more (birdies) to be honest. I had eight really good birdie opportunities,” said the leader 54-hole leader.
The second spot belongs to Venezuela’s Felipe Velázquez, who resumed his third round with a birdie on 18, his ninth hole, to tie Smith for the lead at 10-under earlier in the day.
“Once again I struck the ball pretty well this morning. I had several birdie chances, made two of them and three-putted the third for my only bogey,” said the 22-year old following a solid round of 68.
Trailing the leader by seven, Rio de Janeiro native Philippe Gasnier is in solo third. His good start in the morning was slowed down by a double-bogey on the par-3 16th.
“I got to 4-under for the day, but then I hit a poor shot off the sixth tee and hit water for a double-bogey. Fortunately, I managed to finish with a key birdie on 18. Now it’s time to rest a little and get ready for the afternoon,” said Gasnier, who turned 33 on Tuesday.
There are five American players tied for the fourth spot, only a shot behind the Brazilian Gasnier. Dustin Garza, Ryan Thornberry, Derek Barron, Marcus Manley and Bronson Burgoon are T4 through 54 holes.
The 54-hole cut came at 5-over par 221 with 71 players from fifteen countries competing for the top-15 spots.
The fourth and final round started at 11 a.m. local time, with players starting from both the 1st and 10th tees. The pairing featuring the top-3 players is scheduled to start off the 1st at 1:01 p.m.
At the end of the day the top 15 players will earn full status for the inaugural season of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, which begins in only thirty days in Merida, Mexico. In case of a tie for the 15th and final spot a playoff will be contested.