Mediate keeps lead at Open

Mediate keeps lead at Open

Rocco Mediate is looking for his first PGA Tour victory in eight years.
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

SAN MARTIN, Calif. (AP) — Rocco Mediate holed out with a pitching wedge from 111 yards on the par-5 15th hole for his third eagle of the week and finished with a 4-under 67 to maintain a three-stroke lead Saturday in the Open.

The 47-year-old Mediate, looking for his first PGA Tour victory in eight years, became the first player to make three eagles in a tournament since Tiger Woods in the 1998 Sprint International. Mediate had a hole-in-one on the par-3 third hole Thursday and holed out from 160 yards Friday on the par-4 fourth hole. He had a 17-under 196 total on the CordeValle Golf Club course in the Fall Series event.

Bo Van Pelt was second after a 65, rookie Alex Prugh (66) and Ryuji Imada (69) were five strokes back at 12 under, and U.S. Ryder Cup player Rickie Fowler (68) was 11 under.

Mediate got into a conversation with a group of people as he approached the tee on the 15th hole. They wanted to follow him, but were more interested in watching the NLCS opener between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies.

“I told them I don’t blame them,” he said. “I would do the same thing if I could.”

Three other player also recorded an eagle, all on the short par-4, 298-yard 17th hole.

Prugh used a 3-wood off the tee to get within 23 inches of the cup for his eagle. That capped a 5-under 66, which included five consecutive birdies and helped ease the pain of a couple of bogeys.

“I hit it perfect right up the left fringe,” Prugh said. “It kind of rolled around the backstop and came back.”

Prugh played the course through his collegiate years at UCLA and felt that helps.

“I love the west coast,” he said. “We usually played here in fall, so it’s similar conditions now.”

Charles Warren used a 27-foot putt shot for his eagle, and Chris DeMarco came within five inches of a hole-in-one.

The start of play was delayed 45 minutes because of fog.

Mediate holds at least a share of the 54-lead for the seventh time, most recently at the 2002 Wyndham Championship, his last PGA Tour win. This is his 193rd start since.

“If I keep doing what I’m doing I have a good chance of getting this done,” Mediate said. “There’s no reason why I can’t keep going.”

Van Pelt drew within a stroke of the lead with birdie on the 12th hole, but bogeyed on 14 and birdied on 15 while Mediate had a birdie and his eagle.

“It was good to shoot a low number to get a little closer,” Van Pelt said. “I wasn’t happy after two holes but then I made a couple of birdies and settled in.”

On the 18th fairway, Van Pelt had a run-in with a bee, which landed on his ball and refused to leave for a few minutes despite the player’s best efforts.

“We were 65 yards away. I had a good chance to make birdie,” Van Pelt said. “I was always good at ‘Operation.’ I have steady hands. I’m glad I took the time and made a good shot.”

Fowler was five strokes back at this event last year before forcing a playoff. He said a good start to his final round helped propel him to the top of the leaderboard.

“I’m going to focus on getting off to a good start,” he said. “Rocco controls the tournament right now though and he’s going to be tough to catch.”

The tournament, the third of five Fall Series events, is in its first year at CordeValle Golf Club after three seasons at Grayhawk in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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