Reno, Nev. Former Kansas University golfer Gary Woodland holed out from a greenside bunker for eagle and hit an approach shot from the fairway to 2 inches for one of his six birdies Saturday to take the third-round lead in the Reno-Tahoe Open with 37 points in the modified Stableford scoring system.
Brandon Steele vaulted into second place with 30 points. He played the last six holes in 7-under par under a traditional format, capping five consecutive birdies with a 33-foot chip-in for eagle on the 616-yard 18th at Montreux Golf Club.
The scoring system awards eight points for double eagle, five for eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus-one for bogey and minus-three for double-bogey or worse.
David Mathis was third with 29, followed by second-round leader Andres Romero at 27, Charlie Wi at 25, Dickey Pride 24 and Rory Sabbatini 23. Stuart Appleby was in a group two more points back at 21.
Woodland, the 2011 PGA Tour rookie of the year who claimed his lone victory at that season’s Transitions Championship, holed out from a greenside bunker 50 feet away for an eagle on the par-5 second, then chipped in on the par-3 seventh from about 50 feet after hitting his tee shot over the green into the rough.
“Today was an interesting day,” said Woodland, who started the day in second place with 21 points, one behind Romero. “I felt like I hit it really well, I just didn’t hit many greens, especially early in the round. All in all, my short game saved me today.”
Woodland sandwiched birdies around a bogey on the par-5 ninth when he failed to get up and down out of a greenside bunker and two-putted for birdie on the par-5 13th before his 126-yard approach shot on the 439-yard 15th stopped 2 inches shy of the hole.
The Kansas native added a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th to head into today’s final round ahead by seven points. He isn’t sure what that kind of advantage that would translate into under a traditional scoring system.
“It’s tough to tell in this format,” said Woodland, whose best finishes this year are ties for 16th at the Phoenix Open, Memorial and AT&T National.
“Obviously, if you make birdies, you can move up quickly,” he said.