Garwood Gonzalez Share Lead at State Farm Open


RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. -- Doug Garwood fired a 5-under 66, while second round co-leader Ernie Gonzalez carded a third round 67 as the two share the lead at the Buy.Com State Farm Open. The pair are at 12-under 201 and lead three other golfers by one stroke.
Steve Haskins, Brian Claar and Andrew McLardy each stand at 11-under 202 and tied for third place. Tjaart Van Der Walt and John Restino are one shot behind that trio at minus-10.
Conditions have been perfect so far as six of the top seven players on the leaderboard have each carded three straight rounds in the 60s. Thirty-six of the 60 players who made the cut posted rounds in the 60s during the third round, while just eight players were over par during Saturday's round.
Garwood used a hot putter to card birdies on the first three holes and each of the final two holes. He had only 21 putts in his round at the Empire Lakes Golf Course.
'It was pretty important to get off to a good start,' said Garwood. 'The ball just went in the hole on the first hole. Someone was smiling on me today. I've been seeing the line real well this week.'
After starting the round at 3-under, Garwood birdied the par-5 fifth, but gave that stroke right back on the sixth. He made the turn at minus-4 on the round courtesy of a 40-foot birdie putt at the par-4 eighth.
He bogeyed the 11th, when he missed a 10-footer. Garwood finished the round with a pair of birdies. He knocked a 5-iron within six feet on 17 and hit a wedge within 15-feet on his third shot to the par-5 18th.
'I've played my game this week regardless of who else is playing well or who is watching,' Garwood said. 'Pressure is self-created, if you don't think there is any pressure, there isn't.'
Meanwhile, Gonzalez had a pair of hot streaks himself. He birdied numbers 3, 4 and 5. He did give a stroke back to the field at the sixth after a poor tee shot.
'The last three days I've gotten off to so-so starts,' commented Gonzalez. 'But the front nine got me going today.'
After parring 10 straight holes, from the seventh to the 16th, Gonzalez jumped back into a share of the lead with birdies at 17 and 18. He made an eight-footer at the par-3 17th, before nearly chipping in for eagle at the 18th. His tap-in birdie gave him a back-nine 34.
'Today, no matter what I did, I stayed positive,' Gonzalez said. 'If you hit it in the fairways you can fire at the pins. It would be nice to win here at home.' He resides in nearby Chula Vista, Calif.
Garwood will be in the final pairing for the second time this season, but is still looking for his first Buy.Com Tour victory. He was in the final group at the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic the first weekend in June. Gonzalez looks to earn his first Buy.Com Tour win since the 1986 Pensicola Open.
Brian Wilson stands alone in eighth place at minus-9. Jason Buha and Eric Meeks are among a group of 14 players tied at 8-under-par. Defending champion D.A. Points carded his third straight sub-par round and is among 10 players at minus-7.
Full-field scores from State Farm Open