Travis Hampshire knew he needed to shoot something low in Saturday’s third round of the Nationwide Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship if he was going to have a chance to win. The 30-year-old Floridian charged into contention with a 9-under 63 and grabbed a share of the 54-lead at 18-under-par 198.
Nebraska’s Steve Friesen, the first- and second-round leader, carded a 4-under 68 to join Hampshire at the top.
Josh Broadaway (68) kept pace with Friesen, his playing partner, and is one back of the co-leaders. Casey Wittenberg matched his career-low round with a 63 early in the day and holds down fourth place, two off the pace. Michael Sims (65), Ted Potter (68), Cliff Kresge (69) and Gavin Coles (69) are tied for fifth at 15 under.
“I don’t really pay too much attention to the boards,” said Hampshire. “If you get one of those days where everything’s going right, you just take advantage of it and fire at the flags and take it as low as you can.”
Hampshire, in his rookie season on the Nationwide Tour, is no stranger to low numbers. The former Purdue Boilermaker shot a 12-under 60 earlier this year at the BMW Charity Pro-Am, where he held or shared the lead each of the first three days.
“It’s always the putter when you go low. That’s all it is out here,” said Hampshire, who is tied for seventh in putting this week. “You have to putt well. I hit it just as good today as I did the first two days but I just made more putts. That’s always the key.”
It also helps your putting when you hit nearly every green in regulation. Hampshire has missed only six greens through 54 holes, essentially giving him 48 looks at birdie.
“I don’t think about a score I need to shoot because I think that puts too much pressure on you,” he said. “You know that everybody is going to make a bunch of birdies.”
Friesen has made 21 birdies to lead the field but had only two on the front nine and two on the back, closing with five straight pars.
“I tried my best, but I couldn’t make any coming in,” he said. “We (he and Broadaway) were both hitting good shots and staying aggressive and then on the back nine we both made a lot of pars, which isn’t terrible but we lost our momentum.”
Friesen hit bundle of fairways and missed only two greens, but just couldn’t get the putts to fall, including a 15-footer at the par-5 18th that would have given him the outright lead again.
“I feel like I’m handling myself pretty well,” he said. “It looks like it’s super-packed up there and I’ve got to have a really good round tomorrow to stay up there. That’s to be expected at this level. If you don’t play at your best you’re going to be dropping.”
--The top four players on the board -- Travis Hampshire, Steve Friesen, Josh Broadaway and Casey Wittenberg -- are all in search of their first Nationwide Tour win.
--The largest final-round comeback in the tournament’s 21-year history is only three strokes. It’s been done five times previously, but the last time was in 2005 when Roger Tambellini rallied from three back with a 65 to finish at 21 under to win by one stroke.
---Chris Nallen reeled off six consecutive birdies during his 6-under 66. Nallen’s run covered holes 9-14. The tournament record is seven in a row by Craig Bowden (2006), Nick Flanagan (2006) and Dave Schultz (2009).
--Of the 64 players who made the cut, all but four posted par or better scores Saturday.
--Casey Wittenberg matched his career-low round with his 63. He shot a 9-under 63 in the second round at the Mexico Open and held the 36-hole lead.