PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – Joe Durant remained in position for his first PGA Tour victory since 2006, birdieing the final two holes Saturday for a 2-under 69 and a two-stroke lead in the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
The 45-year-old Durant, a four-time tour winner, had a 14-under 199 total on the Mayakoba Resort’s El Camaleon course. He opened with rounds of 64 and 66.
“It always helps just having been in this position a number of times and knowing the kind of round you need to play on Sunday to win a golf tournament,” Durant said. “At least you know in your mind what you need to do. Whether you do it or not, who knows. Experience always helps.”
Charles Warren (65) and J.P. Hayes (69) were tied for second, Chad Collins (67) and Cameron Beckman (69) followed at 11 under, and Kevin Stadler (67) was 10 under.
John Daly was tied for 17th at 7 under after a 69.
Durant birdied the first two holes, then dropped three strokes on the next two. He missed a 1 1/2 -foot on No. 3 en route to a double bogey, and three-putted for a bogey on No. 4. “Two holes of poor putting,” he said.
He rebounded with birdies on 8 and 9, bogeyed No. 14 and closed with the two straight birdies.
“My speed was just off today,” Durant said. “I didn’t have very good speed on the greens, and consequently I left myself a lot of 3- and 4-footers for par. You don’t want to do that if you can help it.”
Warren, making his first start of the season, eagled No. 8, hitting driver and 7-iron to 6 feet.
“The key to the golf course is kind of playing the into-the-wind holes well and kind of just controlling your golf ball and making pars, and then taking advantage of your downwind holes, which I did,” Warren said.
“I don’t think you do anything differently. I mean, this golf course, you can’t really get ahead of yourself. You got to stay in the present with the wind and all that.”