Sunday, November 09, 2008

MCKINNEY, Texas (AP) — Bryce Molder closed in on a PGA Tour card Saturday, shooting a 7-under 64 for a share of the third-round lead with Matt Bettencourt in the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship.

Molder, 32nd on the money list, needs to finish in the final top 25 in the earnings race to earn a 2009 PGA Tour card.

``I'm not there yet, tomorrow is going to be a big day for me,'' Molder said.

Bettencourt shot a course-record 63 to match Molder at 15-under 198 at TPC Craig Ranch. Peter Tomasulo (63), Kyle Reifers (65) and Darron Stiles (70) were 12 under.

Molder birdied Nos. 12-15, had pars on holes 16-17, then finished up with an up-and-down birdie from a bunker on 18, nearly holing his sand shot.

``I was walked down the 11th fairway, saw my wife and had her give me a kiss. Now I was ready to make some birdies,'' Molder said.

Bettencourt entered the week 12th on the money list, high enough to guarantee a spot on the PGA Tour next year.

``My goal at the start of this week, honestly, was to move into the top 10 on the money list,'' Bettencourt said. ``No. 1 is obviously a dream, but I'm just going to try and win a golf tournament.''

Bettencourt spent much of Thursday morning in a hospital with kidney stones.

``I called my caddy late Wednesday night and said, 'I think I'm dying,''' Bettencourt said. ``He came over to pick me, punched hospital on the GPS and away we went.''

He returned to his hotel at 3 a.m., Thursday full of pain medication, and has had it close at hand all week long. After opening rounds of 68 and 67, he got on a record roll early in his third round.

After a birdie and a bogey in his first four holes, he was 7 under on the next six holes with four straight birdies, an eagle on the par-5 ninth and another birdie on 10.

It was the best birdie-eagle streak on the Nationwide Tour this year and boosted him to the top of the leaderboard.

``Saturday is moving day and I was just trying to get myself in position for victory. I'm glad I did,'' he said.

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