5 Things: English, Karlsson out in front at Mayakoba
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico –– Robert Karlsson continues to make birdies in bunches and pursue his first PGA Tour title. But he’s got company at the top of the leaderboard at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the name of second-year pro Harris English.
Karlsson and English shared the lead at 15 under through seven holes before the third round was suspended Saturday due to darkness.
Rory Sabbatini, who is seeking his first victory since the 2011 Honda Classic, and Kevin Stadler, who is searching for his first win in 237 Tour starts, are tied for third at 12 under.
More than 4 1/2 inches of rain doused the course from Wednesday afternoon to Friday afternoon, causing play to be halted three times and for preferred lies to be used for all three rounds.
Here are 5 Things you need to know from Saturday at El Camaleon Golf Club:
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1. KARLSSON'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE: Robert Karlsson owes a cerveza or two to Kevin Stadler, no matter the outcome on Sunday.
Karlsson played last week at the McGladrey Classic and was scheduled to fly to South Africa today to play two tournaments there. But when he canned a birdie putt on the 18th hole at Sea Island, Karlsson’s chances of a top-10 finish and an automatic berth into the OHL Classic improved.
“When I knocked it in (on 18), I was lying 12th,” Karlsson said. “I started looking at what I'm going to do this week, how I'm going to get to South Africa.”
He and his caddie started driving home to Charlotte, N.C., and checked the Tour’s live scoring app on their phone. That’s how they learned that Stadler made double bogey at No. 16.
“So it was like, ‘Oh, we're 10th now. No, we're not. No, we're not, we're 11th,’ ” Karlsson remembered.
With their interest piqued, they flipped on PGA Tour Radio and listened to the play‑by‑play for the final holes. When Stadler hit a good drive on No. 18 and planted his approach shot 37 feet away, Karlsson gave up hope.
“I was like, ‘Okay, 37 feet. He's going to two‑putt from there.’ So we actually turned it off,” Karlsson said. “So I'm like, ‘Okay, South Africa it is, and that's final decision.’ ”
Not more than 15 minutes later, Karlsson’s phone buzzed with a text saying he had tied for 10th and was in the OHL Classic.
“I'm like, ‘What? How did that happen?’ He must have three‑putted,” Karlsson said.
So much for that trip to South Africa.
“All of a sudden I spent four out of five hours in the car trying to change flights, get hotel rooms, organize all sorts of things,” Karlsson said. “But it's all good to be here. You've got to be wondering who decided I am going to play today and tomorrow with Kevin Stadler, because I don't know what's going on.”
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2. ENGLISH'S PUTTING ANYTHING BUT HO-HUM: Harris English torched El Camaleon Golf Club to the tune of a tournament-best 9-under 62 in the rain-delayed completion of the second round of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba on Saturday.
English, who won the FedEx St. Jude Classic in June, tied Robert Karlsson and Kevin Stadler for the 36-hole lead at 12-under 130.
The former Georgia standout entered the week playing well at the start of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season. He has recorded 13 of 14 rounds of par or better to start this season with his best finish in three previous starts this season a T-7 at the CIMB Classic.
English attributed his bogey-free 62, which tied for his lowest score on Tour, to switching back to the Ping putter he used in college. English took 24 putts in the second round. He ranked first in one-putt percentage at 56 percent (22 through his first 39 holes) compared to 32 percent on the season (No. 129).
“I’ve been putting good all week,” he said. “That’s been my strength so I’d like to keep it rolling.”
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3. QUIROS FEELING GOOD: Alvaro Quiros climbed the stairs of the El Camaleon Golf Club clubhouse after play was suspended due to darkness almost as quickly as he climbed the leaderboard on Saturday.
When he reached the dining room, Quiros was greeted by a fellow Spaniard who said, “I’ve got a good feeling about you, mi amigo.”
Quiros smiled his broad smile, slapped hands and said, “I feel good.”
He made six birdies in the first 14 holes of his third round to improve to 11 under and a tie for fifth place.
What’s not to like? After an opening-round 67 in the windiest conditions, Quiros had Friday off. He blamed a shaky putting round in the morning for shooting 70. But his putter wakened in the afternoon as he toured the front nine in 31. Quiros, who is playing this week on a sponsor’s invite, is making the most of the opportunity and likes his chances on Sunday.
“I would like to think that tomorrow I will continue the same,” he said. “I haven't changed. I'm still the same person. Hopefully, my level will still be there, my putting level will still be there.”
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4. WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES: If you aren’t familiar with Wes Roach yet, you may not be alone. Heck, even his bio on PGATour.com is blank in the section, “Did you know about Wes Roach.”
Well, this we do know: the PGA Tour rookie made his first Tour cut on Saturday.
Roach, a 24-year-old Duke grad, finished 22nd on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list to earn his Tour card. He debuted on the Tour last week at the McGladrey Classic and missed the cut. After shooting 67-70 at El Camaleon to play the weekend, Roach strung together four birdies (Nos. 5-8) to climb into contention. He trails the leader by three shots.
Roach, a Knoxville native, is T-12 and bidding to become the second Tour rookie to finish in the top 10 this season. The other? Chesson Hadley with a T-5 in Las Vegas.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: David Duval made his first cut since the Reno-Tahoe Open in August. When play was suspended, he had completed 10 holes of his third round and slipped to T-75 ahead of only Mark Calcavecchia. . . . Robert Allenby, who lost an eight-hole playoff here in 2012, is currently 9 under and T-12. His last top-10 finish was at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in June. . . . Jim Herman withdrew after an opening 71 when his wife went into labor. Congrats to Herman, who posted a photo of mother and child, and the following message: "Andrew James Herman was born at 7:37 pm on Nov 15th. I was able to make it home.” Congrats to Jim and Carolyn. . . . The second round was completed at 12:57 p.m. The third round was suspended due to darkness at 5:07 p.m. with all 78 players on the course. On Sunday, the round will resume at 7 a.m. Players will not be re-paired between the third and final round.