GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) – Fabian Gomez of Argentina ran off six birdies on the front nine Saturday that sent him to a 7-under 65 that gave him a share of the lead with Scott Brown going into the final round of the Puerto Rico Open.
Brown did his damage on the back nine at Trump International, making four birdies for a 5-under 67.
They set the tournament record for 54 holes at 18-under 198 and were four clear of anyone else. Both are going for their first PGA Tour win, which would earn them a spot in the PGA Championship later this summer.
And both are playing in the final group for the first time on tour.
“It's a position I've never been in before,'' Brown said. “But I'm playing good. So I look forward to good things.''
Brown finished 148th on the PGA Tour money list last year, giving him conditional status. The Puerto Rico Open, played the same week as a World Golf Championship in Florida, is one of the few events on tour he can play this year.
Gomez will try to become the first player from South America to win on tour since Jhonattan Vegas on the Humana Challenge two years ago, and the first Argentine to win since Angel Cabrera in the 2009 Masters.
“It's going to be the first time,'' Gomez said of being in the last group. “It's going to be a little hard, a little nerve-racking, so I'll just have to stay as relaxed as possible.''
Two of the last three winners of this event rallied from four shots down on the last day, which gives hope to those chasing the leaders.
Jordan Spieth, the 19-year-old from Texas, made a hole-in-one on the 11th hole for a 66. That put him in the group at 14-under 202 that included Blayne Barber, Steve LeBrun and Brian Stuard.
Morgan Hoffmann had a 68 and was five shots behind.
Former U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein had to settle for a 72 and was among seven players at 12-under 204, which included Ryo Ishikawa of Japan (66), Boo Weekley (66) and Matt Jones of Australia, who had the low round of the day at 64.
Ishikawa, a runner-up in Puerto Rico last year, made a hole-in-one on the eighth hole and closed with an eagle and back-to-back birdies on his last four holes.
Andres Romero was battling for the lead until he stumbled on the back nine. He was assessed a two-shot penalty after his round for a bad drop on the 12th hole, turning that into a triple bogey. He made three other bogeys after that and wound up with a 73 to fall well off the pace.
Jorge Garcia, the 17-year-old amateur from Venezuela, had a 73 and was tied for 72nd. Garcia became the eighth-youngest player to make the cut on the tour. A sophomore in high school, he earned a spot in the field after winning a junior event in Puerto Rico in January.