PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLICAN REPUBLICAN REPUBLICAN REPUBLI Ben Martin played a 2-under 70 on Saturday to keep his two-shot lead in the Corales Puntacana Championship on the PGA Tour.
Martin carded five birdies and three bogeys at Corales Golf Course as the wind died down, giving him a 14-under 202 total heading into the third round. He started with two 66s in a row.
“It wasn’t a 66, but it was 2 under, and I felt good about it.” “Not being in a final pairing in I don’t know how long, so a little bit of nervousness to start the round,” Martin explained, “but made a couple of pars and then birdied the third hole to kind of settle in.”
“The golf course is beginning to firm up a bit.” Because the wind wasn’t blowing as hard, those factors may have balanced out. Overall, I’m satisfied with my 2 under par score.”
The 34-year-old former Clemson standout has only played on the PGA Tour once this year, missing the cut in Puerto Rico after rounds of 78 and 70. His lone PGA Tour victory came in 2014 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
“At the end of the day, I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been trying to do all week: just enjoy being out there, not try too hard, and see what happens,” Martin said. “But I think this is the actual reason I enjoy professional golf: being in contention on the weekend with a chance to win.” You seem nervous, but I suppose that’s why we all prefer to put ourselves to the test and discover where we stand, so tomorrow will be a pleasant day.
After a 69, Chad Ramey finished second. He made an eagle on the par-5 14th hole.
“We simply had a large number,” Ramey explained. “With a little help, I believe the number we had was 146 (yards to the) hole, and it was just a flawless wedge.” I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect opportunity. I suppose I landed 2 short and jumped on in.”
The 29-year-old from Mississippi is aiming for his maiden victory on the PGA Tour.
“Don’t make any changes,” Ramey advised. “Obviously, I’m doing something right,” says the narrator, “so I’ll just keep to my game plan and see what happens.”
Jhonattan Vegas, a three-time Tour winner, shot 65 for 11 under, and Cameron Percy (67) was 10 under with Martin Trainer (67), Thomas Detry (68), David Lipsky (68), and Nate Lashley (68). (69).
“There’ll be less wind,” Vegas remarked. “It was blowing, but it wasn’t blowing anywhere like as hard as it had been all week.” It’s easy to fall into the mindset of being a little more aggressive when the wind is blowing that way. I hit a couple excellent shots and made a few good putts, but mostly I just maintained a fairly aggressive approach throughout the round.”
Vegas shot a 5-iron to 9 feet for an eagle on the par-5 eighth.
“Being Venezuelan, and having a lot of Venezuelans who have relocated here to the Dominican Republic, it’s actually a beautiful feeling,” Vegas remarked. “It’s been a good week, it’s been a good week.” For me, this is always a lovely place to be.”
The winner will be exempt into the PGA Championship but not the Masters because the tournament will be held concurrently with the Match Play event in Austin, Texas.
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