Weibring leads Nitties by one shot after third round Midwest Classic

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PGA.com news services

Series: Web.com Tour

Published: Saturday, August 18, 2012 | 7:37 p.m.

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Matt Weibring’s third-round 6-under-par 65, which included an eight-foot birdie putt at the final hole, was enough to give him a one-stroke lead over defending champion James Nitties after 54 holes at the Midwest Classic on the Web.com Tour. Weibring has a three-day total of 14-under-par 199.

Weibring, who is playing in his 150th career event on the Web.com Tour, will be seeking his first career win on Sunday. His best showing was a third-place finish at the 2008 BMW Charity Pro-Am, and this is just the second time he has held sole possession of the lead heading into the final round. In 2008, he led Darron Stiles by one stroke at the 2008 Fort Smith Classic before a closing-round 75 left him tied for fifth.

MIDWEST CLASSIC

The Midwest Classic marks the two-thirds point of the 2012 Web.com Tour campaign.

“It’s always good to finish with a birdie like I did regardless if it’s Thursday or Saturday or Sunday. I really didn’t look at a leaderboard today. I just wanted to get myself in a good position for tomorrow and this round puts me in a good position,” Weibring said. “We’ve got one more round to go and I just have to keep making birdies and playing well with hopes that with five or six holes to go you’re in the mix.”

Weibring took advantage of a good stretch on the front nine, making birdies on Nos. 3-6 and then making birdies on two of his first three holes on the back nine.

“I got off to the good start with those birdies on the front nine and then made those two early on the back nine,” he said. “I also made a good up and down on No. 14.”

His round included just 22 putts and he leads all players in the field with an average of 24.75 per round. He had one-putts on seven of nine holes on the back nine.

Sunday’s final round is expected to be a tight race with a dozen players within three shots of the lead.

Lurking just one stroke behind Weibring is defending champion James Nitties. After finishing his back nine of the opening round 2 over par, Nitties has played his last 36 holes in 10 under par with just two bogeys during that stretch.

“I got a little rattled at the start today and didn’t seem to have my tempo and made some terrible pars. You’ve really got to score on those first seven holes, but I played really good on the back nine which is not really a scoring nine,” Nitties said. “I’m really happy where I am. When I made the turn I thought I’d be three or four down, but I was only down by two. It seems like no one really wanted to take it. I think if I play half decent tomorrow I should be in pretty good contention.”

Jamie Lovemark, who is one of five players tied for third, had the day’s low round, an 8-under-par 63, his second straight round in the 60s after an opening-round 1-over-par 72. He is coming back from back surgery that limited him to just nine starts on the PGA Tour in 2011.

“I’ve been hitting it well the past few weeks but I just wasn’t making any putts, but I found something Thursday afternoon on the putting green and I’m putting a lot better now,” the 2010 Web.com Player of the Year said. After needing 31 putts in his first round, Lovemark needed just 25 on Friday and 27 on Saturday.

Bryan DeCorso, the 36-hole leader, posted a 2-under-par 69 and is tied for third.

Saturday Notes:

--With near-perfect scoring conditions for the second consecutive day, 56 of the 67 players finished with rounds under par and the scoring average was 68.090.

--Brice Garnett, who attended school at nearby Missouri Western, continues to climb the leaderboard after a third-round 65. He was tied for 124 after the opening round but after rounds of 66-65 he’s now tied for 24th.

--Luke List had eagles on Nos. 4 and 7 on his front nine today on his way to a 7-under-par 64. He had a 64 earlier this year in the second round of the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open.