TUCSON, ARIZ., (July 30) — Tournament players call the third round of a four-day event “moving day” and Chan Kim of Chandler, Ariz. and Mark Anderson of Beaufort, S.C., made the biggest moves upward in the third round of the 43rd Pacific Coast Amateur Championship today at The Gallery Golf Club’s South Course.
The 19-year-old Kim, who will be a sophomore this fall at Arizona State University, rattled off four consecutive back-nine birdies en route to a 5-under-par 67 to earn a share of the lead with Zack Sucher of Mobile, Ala. heading into tomorrow’s final round.
Suchar Drive on 18Sucher, 22, who has led or been tied for the lead after all three rounds, finished the day at 1 under par. He and Kim are at 203 for 54 holes, 13 under par on the 7,402-yard, par-72 South Course at The Gallery Golf Club, site of the World Golf Championship’s Accenture Match Play Championship in 2007 and 2008.
Eric Mina of Fremont, a co-leader with Sucher after the first round, is two shots back at 11 under par after a wild, up-and-down even-par 72 today. Mina opened with a double-bogey 7 today and ended with five birdies, three bogies and the double on his card.
Anderson, who like Sucher is hoping to improve his chances for a berth on the 2009 U.S. Walker Cup team, rode an eagle 2 on the 480-yard 13th hole and four birdies to a 30 on the back nine. His 6-under-par 66 was one of the day’s low rounds and left him at 10 under par, tied for fourth with Richard Lee of Bellevue, Wash., who posted 69 today.
Chan Kim Bunker on 17aKim, who grew up in Oahu and is the 2007 Hawaii Amateur and 2008 Arizona Amateur champion, was frustrated after finishing his opening nine today. “I had started the day four shots back and everyone else seemed to be draining putts,” he said later. “I wasn’t making a thing.”
Then on the 534-yard 10th hole, Kim got up and down for birdie 4 from off the green and things turned around. He followed that with three consecutive birdies and could have gone even lower had he not missed seven-foot birdie putts on the 16th and 17th holes and left a 17-foot birdie putt on the lip on the last hole. “Overall,” he said later, “I was pretty pleased, but it could have been much better.”
That was the same lament Sucher sang following his round, which included one bogey, two birdies and 15 pars. “You should be able to do a lot better than 15 pars on this course,” said Sucher. “I just didn’t play well from 60 yards in today and didn’t make any putts.”
After examining the tournament Web site’s information on the course last week, Sucher switched from a Scotty Cameron putter back to a heavier Odyssey model to help navigate the The Gallery’s greens. “I’m staying with the Odyssey tomorrow,” he said with a laugh, “but I need to make more putts if I expect to win.”
After opening with an even-par 72, Anderson has improved each day. He bounced back with a 4-under-par 68 yesterday. He bogeyed two of his first three holes today but righted the ship by shooting 6 under over his last 14 holes. His 6-under-par 30 on the back nine today included an eagle 2 on the 480-yard 13th hole when he holed a 7 iron shot from 190 yards out.
Mark Anderson“My goal coming here was to win,” said Anderson, “but I felt like I needed to at least contend to keep my Walker Cup hopes alive. I’ve never played tournament golf in the desert, so this has been a real adjustment. The fairways are wide but if you miss one, it’s like being in a hazard, so you really have to focus.”
Philip Francis of Scottsdale (and UCLA) is four shots behind the leader after a 4-under-par 68
today. Another shot back is Cameron Peck of Olympia, Wash., who had one of the three 66s today. He’d be within a shot of the lead had he not suffered a quadruple-bogey 8 on his final hole yesterday.
The tournament concludes Friday with players teeing off from the first and 10th tees beginning at 7 a.m. The leaders — Kim, Sucher and Mina, who also played together today — will tee off the first tee at 9:10 a.m. Spectators are welcome with no admission charge.