CASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Chris DiMarco had eight bogeys and only three birdies in the third round Saturday to drop into a tie for the lead with Rod Pampling in The International, setting up what could be a wild finish.
DiMarco, the second-round leader, appeared to headed toward a runaway victory with 31 points and a nine-point lead in the
modified Stableford scoring system event, but ended up losing two
points in the third round with his stroke-play 77.
DiMarco's collapse allowed 17 players to move within 10 points in a format known for huge swings of momentum -- from 8 points for a double eagle to minus-3 for double bogey or worse. Alex Cejka was two points back after a six-birdie round, and Tom Pernice and Bob Tway were tied for fourth with 26.
Half the field returned to the Castle Pines course early
Saturday to finish the second round after three rain delays the
first two days, and they were all chasing DiMarco -- who opened with
14- and 17-point rounds.
DiMarco got off to a good start, opening with a birdie on the
par-5 first hole to match Pampling. Then things started to go
He pushed his tee shot into a cluster of trees on the third
hole, leading to a bogey, and lost two more points after pulling
iron shots on 4 and 5.
DiMarco seem to have settled himself with consecutive pars, but ran into trouble again. He hit into the woods with his approach on
the par-5 eighth for a bogey, and dropped another point at No. 9
after hitting his tee shot in a pond.
Pampling was able to shake off a poor finish to his second round to get close.
He was within six points with seven holes left Friday, but gave three back with bogeys on three of his first four holes Saturday
morning. Unfazed by his early struggles, Pampling knocked it to a
foot for birdie on the par-5 first, then added another at No. 4
after nearly holing his tee shot on the 230-yard hole.
Pampling took the lead on No. 13 with a birdie after DiMarco
bogeyed the 12th, then DiMarco took it right back with a birdie on
the next hole. Another bogey on 15 dropped DiMarco into a tie, but
he was back in the lead when Pampling had a bogey on 16.
Both players birdied the par-5 17th and DiMarco lipped out a
short par putt on No. 18.
Cejka started his day with 12 points through 12 holes before the second round was called on Friday, and quickly started making up
ground. He finished Saturday morning with 17 points, then birdied
the first hole of the third round. A bogey on the difficult par-3
fourth set Cejka back a point, but he followed with birdies on Nos.
5, 8, 12, 14 and 18 to briefly take the lead.
Pernice couldn't get much going at the start of his round,
opening with five straight pars. He finally broke through on No. 6
with a birdie and had four more with a bogey on the ninth to wrap
up an 11-point day.
Playing in the same group as DiMarco and Pampling, Tway quietly kept hitting fairways and greens to inch closer to the lead. He
opened with two birdies and offset a bogey on No. 3 with another
birdie at the par-3 seventh, finishing the front nine with 23
points. Tway opened the back with another birdie to get within
three points of DiMarco, and had a birdie at No. 17 to offset a
bogey at the 15th.