Woodland stumbles, but still leads OHL Classic

Gary Woodland made his first real mistake of the tournament but at the end of the day was still atop the leaderboard in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

The 32-year-old Woodland was bogey-free for the tournament before hitting his tee shot into an unplayable lie on the 15th hole en route to a double-bogey 5, but still shot 5-under-par 66 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Pat Perez into the final round.

After finishing with three pars, Woodland had a 54-hole total of 18-under 195.

“I played beautifully all day, just hit the one bad shot,” said Woodland, whose two PGA Tour victories came in the 2013 Reno-Tahoe Open and the 2011 Valspar Championship. “I was able to control my distance and made a lot of putts. I’m excited about where I am and excited about tomorrow.”

Perez, who missed seven months this year following surgery on his left shoulder and is playing on a major medical extension, recorded eight birdies and an eagle in a brilliant 62 — lowest round in the new season on the PGA Tour.

After opening with three straight birdies, Perez eagled the fifth hole and added birdies on the seventh and ninth to go out in 29. He carded his only bogey at No. 10, but added three birdies down the stretch.

“You look at those first seven holes and you think you should be 7-under, and I was able to get to 6,” said Perez, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2009 Bob Hope Classic. “I’m just trying to hit good shots and not worry too much about the result.
“… I played 18 years as a pro and probably needed a few months off, even though it was a forced break and you never think about taking that much time off. I feel real good, strong. It was a nice break.”

Scott Piercy birdied five of the first eight holes on his way to a 66 and was two shots back in third, followed another stroke behind by Seamus Power of Ireland, who had a bogey-free 64, while Webb Simpson was four down in fifth after a 69.

Chez Reavie eagled the 13th hole and finished in 63 and was five back in a tie for sixth with Russell Knox of Scotland, who totaled 67, Jason Bohn, who posted a 66, and Luke List, who came in at 66.

Defending champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who opened with a 75 but rallied to make the cut by one stroke with a 65, shot a second straight 65 and was tied for 32nd.

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