Elder Moves Three Clear


WICHITA, Kan. -- Brad Elder fired a 4-under 67 on Saturday to grab a three-stroke lead through three rounds of the Wichita Open. Elder completed 54 holes at 14-under-par 199.
Anthony Painter carded the round of the day as he shot a 7-under 64. That moved him into a tie for second place at 11-under-par 202, where he was joined by Erik Compton (66) and Darron Stiles (69).
Elder started his round one shot behind overnight leader Keoke Cotner. Elder picked up his first birdie at the par-3 fifth at Crestview Country Club and came back to chip in for birdie at the eighth, also a par-3.
A two-time winner in the 1999 season, Elder then stumbled to a bogey at the par-4 ninth. He atoned for the error with a birdie at the par-4 11th.
Elder moved to 13 under with a birdie at the par-4 13th. However, 13 was unlucky for Elder as he bogeyed the par-3 17th to drop back to minus-12. He reached the par-5 18th in two shots and converted the eagle try for a three-shot cushion entering the final round.
'The eagle was important, but I just wanted to make sure I was in the final group,' said Elder. 'I haven't been in this position in a while. It is all about going out there and trying to score the best you can and that is what I did. The wind picked up and there were some great pins and I wasn't hitting the ball well.'
Painter stumbled out of the gate with a bogey at the first. He then ran off three straight birdies from the second. He birdied the eighth and 11th to get to 8 under.
The 39-year-old Painter dropped in back-to-back birdies from the 15th and closed with a birdie at the last to move into a tie for second place.
Compton opened with consecutive birdies from the second. He then dropped a stroke at the sixth. After four pars in a row, Compton birdied three of four holes from the 11th to jump to 10 under. He birdied the 17th to get into a share of second.
'I'm just blessed to be out here,' said Compton, who had a heart transplant at the age of 12. 'I'm glad to be back in contention again. I know my game is in good shape. I'm just trying to play as well as I can, no matter where I'm playing.'
Stiles, a three-time winner on the Nationwide Tour, picked up one lone birdie over his first 13 holes. He got to 11 under with a birdie on the par-5 14th. Stiles bogeyed the 17th, but closed with a birdie at the last to return to minus-11.
Cotner only managed a 1-over-par 72 on Saturday. He shares fifth place at 10-under-par 203 with 2004 Chattanooga Classic winner Justin Bolli, Stephen Gangluff and David Hearn.
Jason Buha, Gavin Coles, Sean Murphy, Victor Schwamkrug, Chris Tidland, Johnson Wagner and Jimmy Walker, a two-time winner this season, are one stroke further back at minus-9.
Jeff Klauk, the defending champion, posted his second straight round of 1-under 70 to move into a share of 38th place at 5-under-par 208.
Related Links:
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