Karazissis seizes control, owns four-shot lead with a round to play
SAN JACINTO, California—Opening the third round tied for the lead, Kyle Karazissis slowly pulled away from the pack, and after an eight-birdie, one-bogey 65, Karazissis, at 16-under overall, holds a four-shot advantage over Charlie Reiter and is six strokes clear of Tyler Falk with 18 holes remaining in the PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament at Soboba Springs Golf Course.
Karazissis began separating himself from the field on the strength of two birdie binges. The first came at holes 5, 6 and 7, and then he also began his back nine with consecutive birdies, at the 10th, 11th and 12th holes. By that time, he extended his lead to five strokes over Reiter. His birdie putts at the 10th and 11th were eight inches and six inches, respectively. He made an eight-footer at the 12th for the last birdie of the streak.
“I hit it really good, which always makes it fun. I had quite a few tap-ins for birdies since I was hitting my wedges close. I really played solid through and through,” Karazissis noted. His only stumble came at the 14th, a bogey the result of a three-putt. “It was a little disappointing, but I didn’t really let it get to me.”
On his next hole, Karazissis hit a 3-wood, second-shot approach on the par-5, with the ball plugging in the face of the bunker.
“I blasted a 9-iron, and it flew just onto the front edge of the green and rolled out to 10 feet. I was able to make that one. That was great to get the momentum right back after the bogey,” he added.
Reiter did his part to get into contention after he began the tournament with a pair of 70s, leaving him tied for ninth when the day began. His birdies during his bogey-free round came at Nos. 1, 4, 5, 6, 7. 11, 15 and 18, his 64 earning him a share of low-round-of-the-tournament honors with Josh McCarthy.
“Things are looking up in the swing, I got off to a quick start and played steady down the stretch,” Reiter said.
Even with a birdie on the finishing hole, Reiter talked about his birdie on No. 11 as pivotal. Facing a 12-foot downhill “slider,” with six feet of break, he rolled it in. “That jumpstarted me on the back nine,” Reiter explained.
Even the colder Southern California weather really didn’t bother Reiter. “Funny enough, the last three months it’s been rainy and cold in San Diego, so I’m used to it. It didn’t really affect too much. I just went out and played,” he added.
“That was interesting,” Karazissis said of the cooler temperatures. “The contrast between the first day and today was totally different. All these guys out here are good at adjusting the whatever conditions we have. [The weather] is just another factor we have to take in.”