Golf: Pacesetter Woodland remains one ahead in Mexico – Metro US

Golf: Pacesetter Woodland remains one ahead in Mexico

Golf: Pacesetter Woodland remains one ahead in Mexico

(Reuters) – Long-hitting American Gary Woodland, seeking his third PGA Tour victory, shrugged off a late double-bogey to preserve a one-stroke lead after the third round of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico on Saturday.

On a relatively calm day at the sun-splashed resort of Playa del Carmen, Woodland played superb golf for 17 of his 18 holes as he fired a five-under-par 66 on the El Camaleon course to post an 18-under total of 195.

Pat Perez, benefiting from an improved mental approach to the game, was alone in second after carding a best-of-the-week 62 with fellow American Scott Piercy (66) a further stroke back at 16-under.

Woodland had been one ahead of the field overnight and appeared to be in cruise control as he birdied seven of the first 13 holes to increase his advantage to three with four to play.

However, he surprisingly ran up a double-bogey at the par-three 15th after overshooting the green with an aggressive seven-iron off the tee from 208 yards, his ball ending up in thick ocean scrub from where he had to take a penalty drop.

Woodland then chipped six feet past the cup and missed the bogey putt coming back for his lead to be cut to one, but he parred the next three holes and remains a stroke in front.

“I really played beautifully all day,” Woodland, who won the most recent of his two PGA Tour titles at the 2013 Reno-Tahoe Open, told Golf Channel. “I drove the ball exceptionally well, drove it in the fairway all day.

“Had some good numbers but controlled my distances very well coming into the greens, and I putted it pretty well. So I am excited about where I am and I’m excited about tomorrow.”

Perez, who was sidelined for eight months this year by a shoulder injury, rocketed up the leader board with a sizzling 62 that included eight birdies and an eagle at the par-five fifth.

“I was real comfortable,” said the 40-year-old, whose only PGA Tour victory came at the 2009 Bob Hope Classic.

“I put on this different attitude in the last couple of weeks where I’ve tried to stay aggressive and tried to play the right shot… and not worry about what happens. It’s really worked.

“I hit a bad shot on 10 (for his only bogey) but I hit a lot of good ones. The shoulder is great. Everything is clicking.”

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris)