Victoria, BC (ISN) – Cory Renfrew is on his way to becoming the next hometown golf hero in Victoria joining the likes of Jim Rutledge and Rick Gibson as hometown stars. The UBC graduate shot a third round four-under 66 in what Derek Gillespie referred to as “extremely difficult” conditions to hold a three shot lead over three players heading into the final round of the Times Colonist Island Savings Open.
Renfrew and the 67 other players to make the cut battled windy conditions all day on the par 70, 6,500-yard Uplands Golf Course. Winds gusted up to 40 km/h according to Environment Canada in Victoria which didn’t seem to bother Renfrew.
“I did a good job accounting for the wind today,” said Renfrew who carded five birdies and one bogey. “It was definitely a tough today especially when you have to aim at targets that you aren’t used to aiming at but overall I did a good job hitting low shots and adjusting to the conditions,” added Renfrew who finished third at Q-School back in May.
Renfrew is looking to become the first Victoria native to win the Times Colonist Island Savings Open and just the fourth Islander to win on the Canadian Tour since 1986. Jim Rutledge, probably the most accomplished Victoria product, was the closest to winning in his hometown when he finished in third in 2008. Along with Rutledge, Rick Gibson and Sandy Harper are the only other Islanders to post Canadian Tour victories.
“I didn’t necessarily expect to be in this position but I’m glad I am,” said Renfrew following his round where the hometown crowd was out en masse following the former Canadian University Champion. “I’ve been feeding off the crowd this week and I’m excited for tomorrow for sure,” added Renfrew who plays out of nearby Cordova Bay Golf Club.
Gillespie, who had the overnight lead at 7-under par, struggled on day three at Uplands posting a 1-over 71. The Oshawa, ON native wasn’t able to adjust to the windy conditions, struggling to make the putts fall when he needed them most. That included a four-footer on 18 to join Renfrew in the final group on Sunday. Instead, Jeff Rangel of California will play in the final group at 1 pm PST with Renfrew.
“I was just kind of wanting to make that putt. I thought it was moving both ways and I just missed it,” said Gillespie, who is playing the 2012 season on a medical exemption after suffering serious injuries in an automobile accident in April of 2011. “I’m happy with how I hung in there today. I hit some decent shots and when it’s blowing like that it’s hard to hit to the ball close and there is still a lot of golf to be played,” added Gillespie who is a two-time Canadian Tour winner.
Lucas Lee also sits at 6-under for the tournament and will join Gillespie in the penultimate group at 12:51 pm PST tomorrow. The Brazilian native had an up and down day posting four birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey. Rengal managed to card six birdies and two bogeys on day three in Victoria. The California native’s best finish in Victoria was a T-11 showing at the 2010 tournament.
Matt Jager, the 2010 Aussie and New Zealand Amateur Champion, had the round of the day with a 5-under 65. The 23-year old, playing in his first Canadian Tour event, moved himself into contention at 4-under par despite starting the day eight shots off the pace.
Other notable scores from day three at the Times Colonist Island Savings Open included 4-under par 66’s from Vince Covello of Philadelphia, PA and 2011 Nationwide Tour member Matt Richardson of England. Both Richardson and Covello started the day at +2 (the cut line) and are now sitting in a tie for 16th. Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, BC posted a 1-under 69 and is five shots back at 4-under for the tournament and tied for sixth spot.