LeBrun and Fritsch vault into lead at Nationwide BMW Charity Pro-Am

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PGA.com news services

Series: Web.com Tour

Published: Saturday, May 19, 2012 | 8:14 p.m.

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Steve LeBrun vaulted up the leaderboard on Saturday, firing a 5-under 67 at Greenville Country Club’s  Chanticleer Course, the most challenging of the three courses, in the third round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am on the Nationwide Tour. The round puts him at 203, 12 under par for the tournament.

Not to be outdone, Brad Fritsch took advantage of the continued soft conditions at Carolina Country Club, carding a 4-under 68 to grab a share of the lead with LeBrun heading into the final round.

BMW CHARITY PRO-AM

The BMW Charity Pro-Am features 168 professionals, plus amateurs and celebrities in a better-ball format hosted by three different courses.

Five players are 11 under par, one shot back of the leaders. They are James Hahn (69), Alex Prugh (66), 2007 BMW Charity Pro-Am champion Nick Flanagan (67), Robert Streb (70) and Andy Pope (70).

Australian Cameron Percy, the second-round leader, had a roller coaster day on the challenging Chanticleer Course. Percy’s 75 dropped him into a tie for eighth with Tyrone Van Aswegan of South Africa, two shots off the pace at 10 under.

In Sunday’s final round, all participants -- including the 14 leading Pro-Am teams that made the cut -- will play the host course, Thornblade Club, one more time.

“Just a solid day,” LeBrun said.  “I bogeyed my first hole, but hung in there like I have all week. I'm not hitting it the best, but my short game is keeping me in there.”

After his opening bogey, the Florida native capitalized on a few missed shots. He didn’t like his tee shot on No. 16 (his seventh hole) from the start, but a fortunate bounce led to a birdie that jump started his round.

“I knew it was a poor shot,” LeBrun said of his tee shot. “But it hit in the rough and started trickling down and finished six inches away for a tap-in. It was a bad shot that worked out great, which makes you feel pretty good.”

Currently 67th on the Nationwide Tour money list, LeBrun proceeded to card four more birdies in his round. He knows what his miss is and believes he is heading in the right direction to correct it.

“I've been playing good all year,” he said. “My miss is a shot to the right. It happened on that par 3, but it's dwindling down, so we're getting there.”

Fritsch, an Alberta native who now calls North Carolina home, played Carolina Country Club Saturday and knew the importance of taking advantage of the conditions.

“Everyone knows that of the three courses this is the one where you need to score the best,” Fritsch said.

The Campbell University alum got off to a slow start with a bogey on No. 12, his third hole of the day.  He followed it with a par from the middle of the fairway on No. 13. He then hit three straight approach shots to three feet starting at the 14th, but only converted two of them for birdie.

After birdies on the first and sixth holes, the 34 year-old three putted the 8th hole for bogey, but bounced back nicely on the ninth with a very difficult approach into the green.

“Yeah, that was pretty big,” Fritsch said.  “If it was not on that little downslope, then it would have been fine.  But it was on that downslope in the rough and it was shooting out of there pretty good, I just made sure to get it over the water and go from there.”

After his ball safely landed at the back of the green, he managed a long up and down for birdie after three-putting the previous hole.

“Fortunately I was able to get it up and down,” Fritsch said. “It was probably 90 feet on the first putt. So that was good.”

In order to get his first win on the Nationwide Tour, Fritsch believes the key Sunday is finishing strong down the stretch.

“You have two par 5s in 15 and 16, and two really good holes in the par-3 17th and the really difficult par-4 18th,” he said. “It’s probably going to come down to the last three or four holes.”

A few guys that could come from behind and take advantage of those last few holes are former BMW champion Nick Flanagan, who had a bogey-free round that included an eagle at No. 4, and Alex Prugh, who also had a bogey-free round.

Third-Round Notes:

--Seven of the top-10 Nationwide Tour money winners were entered this week and all seven missed the 54-hole cut.  Among those missing the cut was leading money winner Luke List. His 2-under-par 215 total missed by two. Andy Matthews battled a case of food poisoning and shot a 4-over 76 to miss the cut by four.

--The four players atop the leaderboard entering the third round (Cameron Percy, Aaron Watkins, Reid Edstrom and Darron Stiles) were a collective 10 over par on their front nine. At even par, their back-nine play was much improved.

--Andy Pope, who played with Andy Matthews, got off to a great start with birdies on his first three holes. He ran into some trouble on No. 8 with a three-putt bogey followed by a double bogey on the par-5 ninth. He finished the round at 2-under 70, good for a tie for third. The Xavier University Musketeer currently has conditional status and is looking to make enough money to improve on that before the reshuffle at the conclusion of the Rex Hospital Open in two weeks.

--Fabian Gomez, who finished runner-up in a playoff at this event in 2009 and sixth in 2010, charged back up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64 at Thornblade Club. Gomez’s round included 10 birdies. He jumped up from a tie for 91st after 36 holes to a tie for 22nd.

--Justin Hicks made a costly triple bogey on his 18th hole (No. 9). He was 10 under par playing his last hole and wound up tied for 22nd.

--Martin Piller had a pair of eagles during his round at Greenville CC. Piller eagled the par-5 seventh and 17th holes. He wound up shooting an even-par 72 for a 3-under 212 total, but missed the cut by one stroke.

--Paul Claxton shot an even-par 71 at Thornblade Club to wind up at 3-under 212 and miss the cut by one stroke. Claxton had been a perfect 8-for-8 this year, matching his career-best stretch for consecutive cuts made.