Matteson opens three-shot lead in Puerto Rico
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico – Troy Matteson shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday in the Puerto Rico Open to open a three-shot lead as he goes after the third PGA Tour victory.
Fourteen players were separated by only three shots going into the third round at Trump International Golf Club. Matteson seized control by matching the best score of the day, finishing with seven birdies and a bogey to reach 16 under.
“There’s so many birdies to be made out here, three shots is nothing,” said Matteson, who opened with consecutive 67s. “You’ve got to go out there and make birdies and try to shoot another low score. And I think that’s why people like this golf course. There’s a lot of birdie opportunities, couple of eagle opportunities.
“We like coming to places where we can make birdies.”
The 31-year-old former Georgia Tech player is in the last year of his exemption from winning the Frys.com Open at the end of the 2009 season. He also won in 2006 and has two Nationwide Tour victories.
“I think it’s an advantage, but I haven’t won enough out here to not be a little nervous, and most guys would be nervous,” Matteson said. “Tomorrow, I’m just going to go out and try to do the same things I did the first couple days. I’m going to try to hit solid shots, give myself looks at birdie.”
Hunter Haas was second after his second straight 68.
“I got off to a pretty good start,” said Haas, a two-time winner last year on the Nationwide Tour. “Seems like a lot of people are making birdies on the front, and on the back it’s kind of just hold on.”
Michael Bradley was third at 12 under after a 68.
Major champion Angel Cabrera (69) was 10 under along with Chris Tidland (72), Brendon de Jonge (67), Brandt Jobe (67) and George McNeill (71).
Stewart Cink was 5 under after a 74.