Sanger in third; Reynolds, Kern and Block tied for fourth with one round to go
SANTA ANA PUEBLO, New Mexico (May 2, 2023) ー It was a clash of two red-hot players— John Somers and Braden Shattuck—during Tuesday’s third round of the 2023 PGA Professional Championship at Twin Warriors Golf Club.
Somers and Shattuck, playing in the same group, waged a back-and-forth battle that ended in a tie atop the leaderboard. Both shot 4-under-par 68 and are 7-under-par 209 through 54 holes.
Chris Sanger (3-under-par 69) is in third at 6-under-par 210, followed by Gabe Reynolds (7-under-par 65), Ben Kern (1-over-par 73) and Michael Block (3-under-par 69) tied for fourth at 5-under-par 211.
Somers, PGA Head Professional at Southern Hills Plantation Club in Brooksville, Fla., tallied five birdies including at the par-5 573-yard 1st; par-4, 463-yard 5th; par-4, 488-yard 10th; par-3, 185-yard 13th; and par-5, 651-yard 16th hole.
He also had an eagle on the par-5, 554-yard 12th after a “smoked” tee shot pushed slightly left followed by a 150-yard pitching wedge left him a short putt.
“It’s pretty generous off the tee out here,” said Somers. “As long as you can keep it in the fairways it’s a pretty easy game. I’m rolling it great. I think it’s going to be a good time tomorrow.”
It’s been a whirlwind week for the 31-year-old from New Port Richey, Florida. Somers and his wife, Catherine, welcomed their first baby girl—Colbie Jean Somers—last Wednesday, April 26. He spent two days with his family before departing for New Mexico and the PGA Professional Championship, where he finds himself tied for the lead heading into the final day.
“Baby and mom are healthy so I don’t have to worry about missing the birth or anything like that,” said Somers. “Knowing that they’re in good hands takes a huge weight off my shoulders. I’m just out here playing golf.”
Shattuck, PGA Director of Instruction at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pa., called his third round “steady” while he tried to stay patient after some early putts wouldn’t fall. A pair of clutch putts on the 16th and 17th holes helped him end the round on a high note.
“I made a long putt on 16 up the tier, probably about 50 feet,” said Shattuck. “Then I made probably a 20-footer on 17. So it felt like justice after missing all the shorter putts throughout the day.”
Shattuck enjoyed the friendly competition in his group with Somers and Cory Schneider (2-over-par 74).
“I think we all fed off each other,” said Shattuck. “Those guys took off early. I was kind of late to the party. I kind of backdoored it a little bit.”
Currently in 3rd by himself, Sanger, PGA Head Professional at Woodstock Golf Club in Woodstock, N.Y., caught fire midway through his third round by birdieing five of six holes: the par-5, 588-yard 8th; par-4, 488-yard 10th; par-4, 332-yard 11th; par-5, 554-yard 12th; and par-3, 185-yard 13th.
“I couldn’t have struck it any better,” said Sanger. “I made a lot of clutch four- or five-footers for par to kind of keep my round together in the beginning. I hit it right where I was looking most times. Hopefully it continues tomorrow.”
Reynolds, PGA Director of Instruction at TopGolf Dallas, approached the first tee on Tuesday at T-58 and eight strokes off the lead. Things changed quickly as the 43-year-old from Dallas, Texas, skyrocketed 54 spots up the leaderboard with his 65, which ties for the second-lowest third-round score and matches the third-best 18-hole score in the Championship’s history.
After being disappointed with his putting through the first two rounds, Reynolds ditched the putter he had used the past several years.
“I literally took the plastic off this putter and today’s the first time it’s ever seen the golf course,” said Reynolds. “I made a couple bonus putts, which obviously helps take the good to a little better.”
Reynolds recorded eagles on the par-5, 588-yard 8th and par-5, 554-yard 12th holes. On No. 8, he hit 5-iron into the green and sunk his longest putt of the day, 40 feet.
Alex Beach, a PGA Assistant Professional at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., registered a 6-under-par 66 and is T-10 at 3-under-par 213.
The Championship conducted a 54-hole cut Tuesday to the low 70 scorers and ties. The final round will be contested at Twin Warriors beginning at 6:55 am MDT.
The final round of the 2023 PGA Professional Championship will be broadcast live on Golf Channel on Wednesday, May 3 from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. EDT
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