The lone amateur in the Air Capital Classic has shown some professional resolve over the tournament’s first three days.
Georgia Tech senior Ollie Schniederjans, the No. 1-ranked player in the latest World Amateur Golf Ranking, shot a 5-under-par 65 on Saturday to move into a tie for seventh at 10 under through 54 holes of his first Web.com Tour event. Schniederjans, 21, of Powder Springs, Ga., is four shots behind leader Sebastian Cappelen.
Three weeks after finishing second at the NCAA Championships in Hutchinson, Schniederjans will enter Sunday’s final round in the hunt. All that has slowed his ascension was a 4-over-par stretch on his opening nine Friday, when he finished with a 71.
“Yesterday, I just had a really bad first nine holes,” said Schniederjans, who carded a 39 on Crestview Country Club’s back nine. “I was on the cut line with nine to go.
“I came back really strong from that, so I was feeling pretty good at the end of the day, even though the overall 71 score wasn’t that good.”
Schniederjans, who was three strokes above the 36-hole cut line, made significant progress Saturday. With six birdies and one bogey, he climbed 14 spots from a tie for 21st.
“I just hit it awesome today,” said Schniederjans, who is tied for seventh in putts per round (27.3) and tied for ninth in driving distance (320.7 yards) this week. “Really, the whole way, I was in a groove. I left a few out there, but I played really well for the whole round.”
Tough to defend – Last year’s champion, Scott Parel, had his best ball-striking day of the tournament in the third round. But a balky putter prevented him from climbing as much as he would have liked on moving day.
“I hit it so close on the front, but couldn’t make anything,” said Parel, whose 2-under 68 vaulted him 10 spots into a tie for 30th at 5 under. “It’s disappointing, because I really thought I could have shot 8 or 9 under today based on how I hit the ball, and gotten right back in it.”
Parel said he felt added pressure to make the cut as the 2013 winner. Since opening with a 67, each round has featured different positives and negatives.
“I didn’t really hit the ball that well the first day, but I putted like I did last year,” Parel said. “The last two days, I’ve actually hit the ball better. My speed was a little off today.”
Oh, brother – With tour money leader Carlos Ortiz missing the cut, No. 2 Andrew Putnam has a chance to make up some ground this week.
The type of week his older brother is having would really close the gap.
Michael Putnam, last year’s Web.com money leader, is making his biggest splash this season on the PGA Tour at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn. He fired a second-round 63 and enters Sunday’s final round in a four-way tied for third, two shots behind leader Ryan Moore.
Andrew Putnam was eager to find a television Saturday after shooting an even-par 70 at Crestview. He is tied for 39th at 4 under.
“When you shoot a good score, your phone is just ringing off the hook,” Andrew Putnam said of his brother’s 63 a time zone away. “I try not to bug him too much. But we’re pretty close and we talk all the time.”
Andrew Putnam won the WNB Golf Classic two months ago in Midland, Texas. He trails Ortiz, a two-time winner this season, by just under $100,000 in season earnings, but is still on track for a PGA Tour promotion with $267,492.
For Putnam, who moved to Scottsdale, Ariz., to work with a new coach on some offseason swing changes, the victory brought relief, if only temporarily.
“It does for a few weeks, but the burden’s always there,” Putnam said. “It’s golf. You always want to be playing well, so you never get too comfortable. At least I don’t.
“There’s always the next tournament, the next week and you’re starting at zero. But it’s good to know where I’m going next year and having that security.”
Etc. – Two-time champion Brad Elder shot a 69 and enters the final round tied for 19th. … Cappelen is looking to join 13 players who won their first Web.com start. The last was Ben Kohles in the 2012 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. … Sung Joon Park, who is tied for third at 11 under, lives in Korea and has split time this season between the Web.com Tour and the Japan Golf Tour. … Sunday’s final round begins at 7:11 a.m.