PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- B.J. Staten fired a 2-under par 68 on a difficult Saturday on the Dye's Valley Course and maintained first place after three rounds of the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open on the Web.com Tour. The 202 total puts him at 8 under par, giving him a one-stroke lead heading into the final round.
Robert Streb and Patrick Cantlay are one stroke back at 7 under par. Ben Martin is two off the pace and in fourth, while Russell Henley is in fifth, three strokes behind the leader.
There are three players four strokes back including two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen.
Staten, who made a double bogey on his first hole of the day, had an up-and-down front nine, but seemed to really put it together on the back.
“I drove it well coming down the stretch,” he said. “I hit it to about four feet on 12, and had a nice up and down on 13 and then hit a nice 5-iron to about seven feet on 14 and a 9-iron to about four or five feet on 15. And then just hit really good quality shots on 17 and 18. Both off the tee and from the fairway and you will take that.”
The former Houston Cougar has played well at this tournament before, particularly in the final round and knows that there may be a special round out there for someone Sunday.
“I don’t think I was really beating anybody coming into the last round last year and I shot 64 and went up the leaderboard,” he said. “So that type of round could be out there, you just never know. I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, keep playing my game and maybe get off to a little bit better start and that might put a little bit better taste in my mouth.”
The Utah resident has been trying to focus on what he calls “suspending the future” and believes that he must stay in the present to have continued success on this course.
“I’m just not going to think about the future and I’m just going to focus on what is going on at that time,” he said. “And that’s Braden (his caddie) and I getting really specific on what we’re trying to do on a given shot. And I think I’m going to keep doing that and if I win the golf tournament, great.”
Staten, who has never won on the Web.com Tour, is not any more concerned with the outcome of the tournament than he might have been in the past. The Tennessee native has more pressing things to focus on off the course such as being a father and that has changed his mind set after a bad round.
“It definitely puts things in perspective even though there are times where you definitely want to beat your head against the wall trying to play this game,” he revealed. “And it hasn’t gone very well even though you feel like you’re not playing that bad of golf. And then you pull out your yardage book and you see your son or you get a picture from your wife holding your son. It just changes your outlook for the better obviously and that’s a pretty neat experience that I wouldn’t change for anything in the world.”
A win Sunday would put Staten, No. 69 on the money list, inside the top 25 and in great position to earn his PGA Tour card for 2013.
Cantlay put himself in a great position to earn his first win on the Web.com Tour in only his fourth start. His best finish came at the Chiquita Classic, where he tied for second after losing in a playoff to Henley. The former UCLA Bruin feel comfortable on the greens at Dye’s Valley Course.
“I really like fast greens and the greens are quick this week, so I think that’s helped a little bit,” he said. “I would say that they are a little quicker than normal. They have some speed to them and I like that.”
A win this week would put the California native inside the top 60 on the money list and give him a chance to earn his PGA Tour card for 2013 at the Web.com Tour Championship.
Streb, who leads the Web.com Tour in scrambling, has relied on his short game to keep his rounds going this week and that could be the key to his success Sunday.
“I’ve been chipping and putting well the last few days,” he said. “I made a little bit of a mess when I got in the rough the first day. The last couple of days I’ve recovered pretty well.”
With a win Sunday, the Oklahoma resident would be in a prime position to accomplish his goal of taking over the No. 1 spot on the money list.
“Yeah that’s what I’m striving for, but it does not put me into desperation mode by any stretch,” he said.
--The top three players on the leaderboard -- Staten, Streb and Cantlay -- each played the back nine bogey-free.
--Staten, Cantlay, Martin and Janzen all have a chance to finish this tournament with four rounds below par. No player in the first two years of the event has played all four rounds under par.
--Adam Hadwin’s eagle-2 at the eighth is the first one for that hole in tournament history.
--Tim Wilkinson had a hole-in-one at the par-3 fifth hole. It is the second ace in tournament history. Camilo Benedetti had the first one in Round 1 in 2011, also on No. 5.
--There were four eagles during the third round, bringing the three-day total to 13 and setting a new record for most eagles at this tournament in a single year.
--The final stop of the 2012 season is next week's Web.com Tour Championship (Oct. 25-28) at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, where 25 PGA Tour cards for 2013 will be awarded to the Tour's leading money winners.