Argentina’s Miguel Rodríguez birdied the final hole to edge ahead of countrymen Fabian Gomez and Andres Romero and claim the lead at the 73° Abierto del Litoral Personal.
Rodriguez shot a two under par 68 at Rosario Golf Club in Argentina to move to eight under par 202, one clear of Gomez, who shot a 70, and the leader for the first two days, Romero, who posted a 71.
Play was suspended in the event co-sanctioned by the Tour de las Americas, the European Challenge Tour and the TPG of Argentina for almost an hour and a half midway through the afternoon for a thunderstorm but when play resumed it was Rodriguez to etched out an advantage.
After a birdie-bogey start, Rodríguez followed with a string of pars but his patience paid off at the end, as he birdied the 14th and 16th to take the outright lead. A bogey on the 17th put him back into a tie with Romero and Gómez, but a final birdie effort on the 18th gave him pole position going into the final round.
“I was a hard fought round, with plenty of up-and-downs. After the suspension I went back much more relaxed and I was lucky enough not to hit out-of-bounds on the last. Then I made a nice approach and carded the birdie,” commented Rodríguez, winner of the Costa Rica Open last February and searching for his second victory of the year on the TLA – Challenge Tour series.
Romero, the defending champion and outright leader through the first 36 holes, combined highs and lows with two birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey on the first seven holes. He went on to shoot one under par for the rest of the round to stay in the hunt.
“I four putted the second and then three putted the seventh. Although it was such a poor putting performance I’m not far back at all. Luckily for me it happened today and not on the final round,” said the 26 year old, winner of The Deutsche Bank Players’ Championship of Europe on The European Tour International Schedule last July.
With birdies on the third and fifth, Gómez took the lead early on but had to settle for two bogeys on the remaining thirteen holes. “My ball striking was ok, but I just didn’t sink any putts. What matter is that I’m still near the top,” said the 29 year old from Chaco.
Guatemala’s Pablo Acuña, a rookie who celebrated his 24th birthday on Thursday, put on a striking finish. He went on to shoot five under on the last five holes (birdie-birdie-par-birdie-eagle) to shoot 65 and take the solo fourth, only three strokes off the pace.
Eduardo Romero, a local fan favorite, is only one stroke further back. After repeating two 69s, Romero improved his score by one and now holds the fifth place.