Alex Munoz, playing on a sponsors exemption, shot a Palma Real course record-tying 8-under 64 and is at 14-under 202 through 54 holes, good enough for a tie for top spot with fellow Mexican Pablo del Olmo. Ken Duke (Boca Raton, Fla.) and David McKenzie (Australia) are just one shot back. Mexicos Alex Quiroz is two strokes off the pace.
Canadians Bryan DeCorso (Guelph, ON), Eddie Maunder (Whitby, ON) and amateur Dan Swanson of Surrey, BC are tied for 17th at 8-under. Swanson, who like del Olmo also gained an exemption into the event, carded a 7-under 65 Saturday.
Munoz, 30, had three birdies in four holes beginning on the par-4 second and never looked back.
I had a great start and just kept going, he said. Ive known this course for a long time, so Im sure that helps. But I am comfortable here and that should help me Sunday.
A member on the Canadian Tour as late as last year, Munoz suffered through tendonitis in his shoulders for most of 2001. He missed several events and could not retain his card, but seems to be getting his game back in form on his native soil.
To get my first professional win in Mexico would be special, but it just feels good to be back into competition. Winning would be the best way to get my Tour card back.
Since Thursdays opening round, del Olmo, a member on the Asian Tour, has held at least a share of the lead. A third-round 70 guarantees he will be in the final grouping Sunday with Duke and good friend Munoz.
I didnt play as well as I did these past two days, but I didnt make any big mistakes, said del Olmo. Alex (Munoz) had a great day and I am looking forward to Sunday. Its surprising, I didnt expect two Mexicans to be at the top. But well go out and have some fun and see what happens.
Swanson, who teamed with current Canadian Tour members Jon Mills, David Hearn and Danny Sahl on Canadas 2001 Four Nations Cup team, was thrilled following his round. He managed his 65 despite a bogey on the opening hole. While Swansons showing on the course helped widen the smile on his face, the 23-year-old was ecstatic that his hometown Vancouver Canucks appear on the verge of pulling off a major upset over the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
God, Im just as excited about the Canucks as I am to be here, so maybe that is why I dont seem to be feeling any pressure, he admitted. I didnt have any expectations coming down here, I just wanted to make the cut and go from there. I know everyone back home was excited about me just making the cut, so Im sure this will help.