Van Aswegen rides late eagle to lead after three rounds at Stadion Classic

By news services

Series: Tour

Published: Saturday, May 05, 2012 | 8:35 p.m.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Tyrone Van Aswegen fired a 6-under 65 Saturday and moved into first place after three rounds of the Stadion Classic on the Nationwide Tour. Van Aswegen jumped ahead of the field with an eagle-3 at the par-5 17th and finished at 13-under 200, one better than Bio Kim (64), Woody Austin (66) and second-round co-leader Billy Horschel (69).

Two shots off the pace are Shawn Stefani (66), Cliff Kresge (68) and Jim Herman (70), who shared the 36-hole lead with Horschel.

Two-time U.S. Open champ Lee Janzen shot a 66 and is only three off the lead along with Monday qualifier Brandon Brown (69) and Luke List (70), winner of last week’s South Georgia Classic.

Any one of the top 10 players had a chance to assume control of the tournament, but it was Van Aswegen who emerged late in the day.

“It’s nice to be flashy. If you can make six birdies on nine holes or five in a row at one point, that’s pretty flashy,” said the admittedly unflashy leader. “Basically what I try to do is to build momentum as the round goes on. Usually if you’ve got something good going on, you’re going to be rewarded. That’s what happened today. It works for me.”

No argument there.

Van Aswegen chalked up six straight pars to open his day before closing the front nine with birdies at Nos. 7 and 9. He added another birdie at the par-5 12th to reach 10 under, but was still lurking behind a handful of others.

The 30-year-old South African slammed on the gas at the 567-yard 17th hole.

“I hit two good ones there,” he said. “Big drive, big 3-wood. And then I holed a 30-footer.”

The eagle vaulted him over the others jumbled at 12 under and gave him sole possession of the 54-hole for the second time in three weeks.

“They always say it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” he said.

Van Aswegen is hoping for a better finish Sunday that he had at the TPC Stonebrae Championship a few weeks back. He was up by three in the weather-plagued event, but couldn’t get settled off the tee and wound up shooting a 3-over 73 and fell into a tie for seventh.

“I hope I learned something from it. I just hope it turns out better tomorrow,” he said. “I know the guys are going to be charging and making birdies. That’s expected. I just have to play my game and build some momentum.”

Paired with Van Aswegen will be Kim, the Nationwide Tour’s youngest member at just 21 -- but he won’t know that until he arrives at the University of Georgia Golf Course on Sunday.

Kim found out Saturday morning he was paired with Lee Janzen, a veteran who extended a kind hand to the youngster on the PGA Tour last year.

“Last year he was really nice to me,” said Kim. “He was nice to me on the practice facility and I would ask him questions. I’ve known (about) him since I was a kid. I watched him on TV. This was the first time I got to play with him.”

Kim, who doesn’t look at pairing sheets and relies on his caddie to let him know about his tee time, chalked up seven birdies on his round of 64 -- the day’s best -- and finished two strokes in front of his new friend. When he was done with his round, he wasn’t sure where he was on the leaderboard because he doesn’t look at those, either.

“I haven’t looked at one. I guess since I’m interviewing right now I’m in a good position,” he said with a laugh. “I figure if I looked at the leaderboard I would just think too much about scores. I guess it’s working pretty good.”

Chasing the final pair will be Austin, who shared the 54-hole lead a week ago.

“If I don’t putt like I did last week on Sunday, I’ll have a chance,” said Austin, who shot a 73 and finished third. He also has a tie for fifth this year and is No. 17 on the money list. The new success is mainly due to his putting.

“I’m missing some short ones, but it kind of balances itself out. I’m missing some short ones, but I’ve made a couple of 20-footers,” he said. “I’m not used to making too many 20-footers. That’s the difference. I haven’t played as well as I want, but I’m making two putts a round that I’m not normally making. There’s six shots in three days. There’s your difference right there.”

Austin leads the field in putting this week with 78 putts through 54 holes.

Third-Round Notes:

--Luke List leads the field in birdies with 17. Billy Horschel and Cliff Kresge lead the field in greens in regulation (47 of 54/87%).

--Former Georgia Bulldogs Justin Bolli and Paul Claxton are tied for 15th at 8 under par and will be paired together for the final round. Rookie Hudson Swafford, the third former UGA player to make the cut, is also at 8 under par after 54 holes.

--Australian Cameron Percy celebrated his 38th birthday Saturday. Bubba Dickerson (31) and Aron Price (30) will celebrate birthdays on Sunday.

--The Nationwide Tour will take next week off before resuming play at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, S.C. The tournament will be staged at three different courses in the greater Greenville area: Thornblade Club (host), Greenville CC and Carolina CC.