Kevin Chappell Leads After 3 at 2017 Valero Texas Open

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Kevin Chappell

2017 Valero Texas Open

(The 24th of 43 events in the PGA TOUR Season)

 

San Antonio, TX                April 20-23, 2017                   FedExCup Points: 500   Purse: $6,200,000                         

TPC San Antonio – AT&T Oaks Course                         Par/Yards: 36-36—72/7,435

 

Third-Round Notes – Saturday, April 22, 2017

 

Weather: Mostly cloudy, with a high of 67. Wind NNE 15-25 mph, with gusts to 30 mph.

 

Third-Round Leaderboard

Kevin Chappell               69-68-71—208 (-8)

Branden Grace               66-73-70—209 (-7)

John Huh                       67-71-71—209 (-7)

 

Of the 76 players who made the cut, no-one managed to post a bogey-free score in round three. This marks just the fifth round of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season in which no-one escaped without a blemish.

 

In round three, only 14 of 76 players were able to break par. Scores ranged from 68 (Ryan Palmer) to 85 (Steven Alker).

 

The last seven Valero Texas Open champions have gained nearly a stroke per round in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (+0.864). In addition, five of the last seven champions have ranked inside of the top-10 for SG: Off-the-Tee and six of the last seven have averaged over 295 yards in Driving Distance.

 

Kevin Chappell

Still in search of his first career PGA TOUR title in his 180th start, Kevin Chappell birdied two of his last three holes, Nos. 16 and 17, to post a 1-under 71 and will take a 1-stroke lead into the final round at 8-under 208.

 

Chappell got off to a less-than-ideal start on the front nine, making bogeys at Nos. 1, 4 and 9. He took a double-bogey six at the sixth hole. He offset that with six birdies on Nos. 2, 5, 8, 14, 16 and 17.

 

This marks the first occasion on which Chappell has held an outright lead after 54 holes on the PGA TOUR. He has been co-leader three times after the third round, with a T2 at the 2016 TOUR Championship his best finish (and most recent tie at the top).

 

Once again, the third round of the Valero Texas Open features a single leader. There have not been multiple leaders in San Antonio after 54-holes since 1993 when Jay Haas, Bob Lohr, Tom Lehman and Dan Forsman shared the lead at Oak Hills. Haas would go on to win on the second playoff hole against Lohr.

 

Chappell is making his eighth appearance at the Valero Texas Open. His T2 in 2011 is his best showing and a T4 last year, when he posted all four rounds under par, was just his second top-10 result.

 

Chappell’s T7 at the Masters earlier this month was his first top-10 result this season and allowed him to improve 50 spots, to No. 109 on the FedExCup standings that week. He is currently No. 113 in the standings.

 

Chappell has advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs six consecutive years. Although still looking for this maiden PGA TOUR victory, Chappell has come close to winning with six runner-up results in his career, including four last season. He finished 8th in the FedExCup last season.

 

Third-Round Lead Notes

Since the tournament moved to TPC San Antonio – AT&T Oaks Course in 2010, four of the last seven third-round leaders/co-leaders of the Valero Texas Open have held on for the win, most recently Jimmy Walker in 2015.

 

Last year, Charley Hoffman began the final round two strokes off Ricky Barnes’ 11-under lead, before posting a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke win.

 

So far this season, only nine (of 22) third-round leaders/co-leaders have held on for the win. The most recent to do it was Sergio Garcia at the Masters.

 

Branden Grace

South Africa’s Branden Grace withstood windy conditions Saturday by posting a 2-under 70. He offset two bogeys with four birdies.

 

A year ago, Grace made his way to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open a week after claiming his first PGA TOUR title at the RBC Heritage. After opening with back-to-back, even-par 72s in rounds one and two, he posted weekend scores of 69-67 to finish T9 at 8-under 280.

 

In his fourth start at the Valero Texas Open this week, Grace’s 70 today is just his sixth sub-par score in 14 rounds at the Valero Texas Open. He opened this week with a 6-under 66.  .

 

Grace is making his 12th start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, with a T11 at last week’s RBC Heritage his best showing. He is currently ranked 79th in the FedExCup standings.

 

Including his victory at Harbour Town, Grace amassed six top-10 finishes last season on TOUR, en route to a 41st-place finish in the FedExCup standings.

 

Grace has won 10 times internationally.

 

John Huh

Playing his last two holes in 3-under-par (eagle-birdie), John Huh posted a 1-under 71 to get to 7-under 209 and just one stroke back. At the par-4 17th, Huh holed a bunker shot from 73’ for the eagle.

 

Huh is making his sixth consecutive start in the Valero Texas Open. In five previous starts at TPC San Antonio,

Huh’s lone top-30 finish, a T2, came in his first start of 2012.

 

Huh is making his 16th start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, with top-10 finishes at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (T10) and Valspar Championship (T9).

 

Huh’s lone victory came at the 2012 OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

 

Ryan Palmer

Making his 15th start in the Valero Texas Open, and 14th consecutive, Texas native Ryan Palmer made five birdies against just one bogey in round three to post a 4-under 68, the lowest score of the day.

 

Palmer has collected three top-10 finishes in the Valero Texas Open, including each of the past two years (2015/T6 and 2016/T4). He finished T9 in 2010, the first year the Valero Texas Open was held at TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks Course).

 

Palmer hit nine of 14 fairways in regulation in round three, 12 of 18 greens and his 27 putts is the fewest of his first three rounds.

 

In round one, Palmer made a total of 46’ 7” of putts. In round three today, he sank a collective total of 128’ 10” of putts.

 

Palmer’s final-round scoring average of 71.67 in his previous 14 starts in the event marks his highest of the four rounds.

 

Currently No. 161 in the FedExCup standings, Palmer is the only player in the field to post scores in the 60s in rounds two and three.

 

Palmer, a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR, is in search of his first win since the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii. A win tomorrow would come in his 173rd TOUR start since his victory in Hawaii.

 

Palmer is making his ninth start of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, where he has missed five of eight cuts. His only top-35 finish came at last week’s RBC Heritage (T11).

 

Miscellaneous Notes

Tony Finau and Bud Cauley, who were tied at the top after 36 holes, both posted scores of 74 and will began Sunday’s final round two strokes back at 6-under 210.

 

2013 Valero Texas Open winner Martin Laird birdied his last two holes in round three to get to 6-under 210. He will begin the final round two strokes back. Laird is in search of his fourth career PGA TOUR title and first since 2013’s win in San Antonio.

 

At 6-under 210, Kevin Tway is just two strokes out of the lead (T4). Should he win, it would mark the 10th occasion on which a father/son combination have won on the PGA TOUR. Most recently, Kevin Stadler won the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

 

Past Valero Texas Open champions in the field: Bob Estes (1994)/T12, Justin Leonard (2000, 2001, 2007)/T59, Brendan Steele (2011)/T59, Martin Laird (2013)/T4, Jimmy Walker (2015)/T19, Charley Hoffman (2016)/T35, Zach Johnson (2008, 2009)/MC, Steven Bowditch (2014)/MC, and Ben Curtis/2012/WD.

 

Bogey-free rounds:

R1:  Bob Estes (68), Adam Hadwin (70), Tom Hoge (68), John Huh (67), Steve Marino (68), Seung-Yul Noh (68), Geoff Ogilvy (69), Brendan Steele (70), Kevin Streelman (71), Steve Wheatcroft (70).

R2: Bud Cauley (66), Ben Crane (69), Brad Fritsch (69).

R3: None

 

Scoring Averages at TPC San Antonio:
Front 9             Back 9             Total                Cumulative
R1:       36.110              35.748              71.858              —

R2:       37.065              35.903              72.968              72.413

R3:       37.842              36.500              74.342              73.056

 

The par-4 12th hole played the most difficult in round three at 4.553. The par-17th played the easiest at 3.434.

 

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