NANTONG, China(May 25 , 2019)—Max McGreevy admitted following his third round that his ball-striking wasn’t as good as it had been the previous two days. It was hard to tell by looking at his score Saturday as the American fired his third consecutive round in the 60s—this time a 3-under 69—to take a one-shot lead over Kevin Techakanokboon into the final round of the Nantong Championship. England’s Stephen Lewton is alone in third, two behind McGreevy. In all, seven additional players are within four strokes of McGreevy’s lead.
On a cool, rainy day, McGreevy didn’t get off to a strong start, bogeying his first hole before the rain even began. He played his opening nine under the threat of a storm but never got wet. When the sky finally opened and the rain did begin to fall, McGreevy, No. 5 on the Order of Merit, had just eagled the par-5 ninth hole. Even with two bogeys on his opening nine, McGreevy made the turn in 2-under. He birdied Nos. 10 and 12, with a bogey squeezed in between. The University of Oklahoma graduate then parred out to card the 69, taking the clubhouse lead for the second consecutive day.
“It’s always a struggle trying to keep everything dry. It was definitely challenging,” said McGreevy of the weather after his round. “I was glad I was able to put another good round out there.”
Techakanokboon moved into contention with a 7-under 65, a day after shooting a 73. It’s been an up-and-down week for the American of Thai descent, as Techakanokboon fired a 66 to start the tournament. Techakanokboon says his strategy is to take advantage of Nantong Yangtze River Golf Club’s four par-5s, something he did Saturday, with birdies at Nos. 4, 10 and 12. He made a par-5 at No. 9.
“I’m just trying to take down the par-5s, be smart but when I have a wedge in hand be a little more aggressive,” Techakanokboon said.
Did you know that Max McGreevy comes from good golf bloodlines, with his father, Brian, a former collegiate golfer at the University of Kansas and his uncle Tom McGreevy a golfer at Arizona State? Tom played on Sun Devil teams in the early 1970s that featured future PGA TOUR stars Bob Gilder and Howard Twitty.
- Kevin Techakanokboon had a difficult finish to his second round, but he didn’t let it slow him down. After making a bogey at No. 16 and a double bogey at 17 Friday, followed by a closing par, the California resident started his third round par-eagle-par-birdie and never let up. He finished with five birdies and the eagle to shoot a 65.
- The 65 Kevin Techakanokboon shot Saturday was the low round of the day by two shots.
- China’s Guozhen Xu is the low Chinese player this week. At 8-under, following a third-round 70, Xu is tied for 11th with South Korea’s Jaewon Lee and Woojin Jung and Japan’s Kenta Endo.
- Besides leader Max McGreevy, Matthew Negri is the only other player in the field to shoot three consecutive rounds in the 60s. Negri has put together three 69s, and at 9-under, he’s four shots behind McGreevy with 18 holes to play.
- Of the top-10 players on the leaderboard, only Kevin Techakanokboon and Luke Kwon have won on PGA TOUR Series-China. Techakanokboon captured the 2018 Zhuhai Open at the end of the season, while Kwon is coming off his first professional triumph, the Qinhuangdao Championship, a week ago.
- Amateur Enqi Liang has improved each day this week after opening with a 2-over 74. He shot a 71 in the second round then fired a 69 Saturday. He’s tied for 37th with three others, at 2-under overall and is the low amateur. The only other amateur to make the cut, Linqiang Li, opened the tournament with a 71 and has gotten subsequently one stroke worse each day. His 72-73 last 36 holes have left him tied for 42nd.
- Order of Merit leader David Kocher fell from contention with his 6-over 78 in the third round. Kocher made three consecutive bogeys on his front nine (starting at No. 5) and added a pair of double bogey-6s (Nos. 11 and 18) on his final nine holes.
- The Philippines’ Lloyd Jefferson Go is poised to turn in his best finish on PGA TOUR Series-China. Go tied for 10th at the Haikou Championship and is tied for seventh in Nantong with 18 holes to play. His performance in Haikou is still the best by a Filipino in Series history.
- American Corey Shaun shot a 2-over 74 in the second round but bounced back with a 5-under 67 Saturday. He’s tied for 20th, up 31 positions from where he was through 36 holes.
- After a third-round 81, Australia’s Bryden Macpherson withdrew from the tournament.
“I love these greens. They’re like back home with the same type of grass. I feel very comfortable out here with the speed.” –Max McGreevy
“It was still playing semi-easy, I felt like, because the course was softer.” –Max McGreevy
“But I didn’t hit the ball as well as I did the previous two days. I was taking that into effect and making sure I kept giving myself birdie putts.” –Max McGreevy
“I felt like I didn’t make that many putts today, but fortunately I still made enough to put a good round together. Hopefully I can make even more [Sunday] and go even lower.” –Max McGreevy
“I think there are still low rounds out there because it’s soft. You have to be careful with this rain. It throws your momentum off.” –Max McGreevy
“I got a lot of lucky breaks, and when I did get them I took advantage of them. I made quite a few three- and four-footers for par on the last few holes. That helped a lot.” –Kevin Techakanokboon
“Every time I had a chance with wedge in hand or a putt inside 10 feet, I took it.” –Kevin Techakanokboon
“The wind dropped with the rain, so I think it made it slightly easier than [Friday].” –Stephen Lewton
“The key points to playing this course is getting out into the fairway so you can be aggressive with your second shots.” –Stephen Lewton
Tournament Fast Fact
This is the sixth tournament of the season. Following the completion of the Nantong Championship, PGA TOUR Series-China will observe a two-week break before playing back-to-back tournaments—the Suzhou Open (June 10-16) and the Huangshan Championship (June 17-23).
Third-Round Weather Report
Rainy and cool. High of 68. Wind S at 8-10 mph.