GREENVILLE, S.C. – Mark Anderson of Beaufort, S.C., closed fast with an eagle and three birdies over his last four holes Saturday to post a 7-under 64 at the Thornblade Club. He holds a one-stroke lead over first-year Web.com Tour member Franklin Corpening through three rounds of the BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Anderson’s three-round score of 21-under 194 is a tournament record, surpassing the old mark of 20 under by Michael Sim in 2009. It’s also the best first-54-hole score on the 2013 Web.com Tour.
Kevin Foley, the winner of this year’s Panama Claro Championship, and Tom Hoge, a friend of Corpening and fellow TCU alum, trail Anderson by three strokes. Foley, from Sommerville, N.J., fired the low round of the day, a 9-under 62 at Thornblade that included nine birdies. Hoge, playing on conditionally exempt status this year, added a 4-under 68 on the Reserve Course at Lake Keowee layout, 30 miles west of the Greenville area.
Anderson began his eagle-birdie stretch run by chipping in from just in front of the green for a 3 at the par-5 15th and he followed up the eagle by making birdie putts of 15 feet, 12 feet and two feet on the final three holes. But the 27-year-old University of South Carolina alum saved his round early on, making a good bogey at the par-4 third hole after hitting his tee shot out of bounds.
“I ended the day with a flurry,” Anderson said. “I really didn’t have anything going until the par-5 15th and then I chipped it in for eagle. After I made a great putt at No. 16, I hit an awesome shot at 17 and converted the putt. That was a tough pin to get close to. And there at the 18th, that was just a nice way to finish.”
This is the first time that Anderson has held or shared the 54-hole lead in a Web.com Tour event. His previous best was a tie for third at the 2010 Panama Claro Championship, where he tied for fourth.
Corpening, the tournament’s 36-hole leader, shot 5-under 67 at Greenville Country Club’s Chanticleer Course despite playing the four par 5s on the Robert Trent Jones-designed layout in only 1 under.
“Compared to the last two days when I could take advantage of my length and straightness off the tee, I couldn’t do it here,” he explained. “I had to lay back with 3-woods and 3-irons, which I did, and that took me out of position of going for the green in two. I putted just as good so I’m ready for tomorrow.”
Corpening has received a Champions’ Choice invitation to play in next week’s PGA Tour event, the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, where he learned to play the game and his father has been a member since Franklin was 10.
“The greens at these three courses this week run at the same speed as they will be at Colonial during the event," Corpening said. "I’m happy that I can get some good work in on the greens and I’m hitting the ball well too. It should be fun.”
Both Anderson and Corpening are looking for their first victory on the Web.com Tour. Anderson’s career-best finish in 59 starts is a runner-up effort at the 2011 Miccosukee Championship while Corpening’s best effort in eight career appearances is a tie for 22nd at this year’s Chile Classic. In this history of the BMW Charity Pro-Am, six players have earned their first Web.com Tour victories at this event with David Mathis the last player to do so in 2008.
The unique pro-celebrity/amateur tournament format used three different courses in Upstate South Carolina over the first three days. The final round will be played at Thornblade, with the low-16 pro-am teams advancing to play on Sunday.
--A steady rain moved through the area in the morning and preferred lies were used at all three courses. The start was delayed for 30 minutes at Thornblade.
--A total of 70 players made the 54-hole cut, which came at 9-under 206, the lowest cut in tournament history. Last year’s cut was at 4 under and 67 players advanced to play on Sunday.
--Of the 17 previous BMW Charity Pro-Am events that have been contested over 72 holes, nine of the 17 third-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win. However, the last to do so was Michael Sim in a playoff in 2009.
--South Africa’s Tyrone van Aswegen recorded the 21st hole in one in tournament history by a professional with a 5-iron shot on the par-3 17th hole at Thornblade. It marked the third straight day for an ace this year. On Thursday, amateur Wayne Dennis made an ace at Thornblade and won a brand new BMW 325. On Friday, actor-comedian Gary Valentine made a hole-in-one at the Chanticleer Course at Greenville CC.
--Kevin Foley shot a 9-under 62 at Thornblade, a career-best. His previous low was an 8-under 63 in the first round of the 2012 Midwest Classic in Kansas City.
--Jerod Turner shot the best round of the week on the Chanticleer Course, carding a Web.com Tour career-best 9-under 63. His previous best round on the Web.com Tour was a 64 on three different occasions.
--David Lipsky shot 29 on the front nine at Thornblade and ended up with a 65 to move up into a tie for 14th.
--In the Pro-Am competition, the team of Mark Anderson/Todd Justice is tied with David Lipsky/Ty Gretzky at 35 under. Wes Roach and his partner Bob Johns are in third place, one shot back.