Victoria, B.C. – Surrey, British Columbia’s Adam Svensson and Edmond, Oklahoma’s Will Kropp fired a pair of 8-under 62s on Saturday at Uplands Golf Club to share the 54-hole lead with Toronto, Ontario’s Albin Choi heading into the final round of the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist.
Svensson, a 21-year old newly-minted professional who played his way into the field thanks to a playoff runner-up finish at last week’s PC Financial Open in Vancouver, carded six birdies and an eagle on the day, while Kropp was also bogey-free with eight birdies. Choi, who carried a three-shot lead into the day, three-putted the final hole for an even-par 70 to join Svensson and Kropp at 11-under through 54 holes.
“I was talking to my caddie last night and said we had to play pretty aggressive,” said Svensson, who played last week on a sponsor’s exemption, of his approach to the weekend. “We knew Albin’s going to keep going low, so I hit a lot of drivers out there. We had three chances for eagle and made one, so I’m playing very aggressive.”
Kropp, a second year member of the Mackenzie Tour who like Svensson began the day eight strokes behind Choi, brought a similar approach to Uplands on Saturday and saw it pay major dividends.
“I was playing pretty aggressive. I didn’t really look at the leaderboard much, but I figured I had to get to around 10-under over the next couple of days, so getting to 11-under today was a pretty good start,” said the 25-year old, who owns one win on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica at the 2014 Abierto OSDE del Centro.
While Svensson and Kropp saw their strategy pay off, Choi, who began the day with a three stroke advantage over playing partner Eugene Wong, wasn’t as fortunate after taking a similar approach. After making eagle at the par-5 7th, the 23-year old made bogeys on the 9th, 10th and 12th holes to fall back to even on the day. One birdie on the 13th and his closing bogey at 18 left him back in a tie for the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.
“I just didn’t have my best stuff out there today and I was a little off and on with the putter. I tried to play like I didn’t have a lead today. The course was playing tough but fair and I knew there would be some good scores out there,” said Choi, who made his pro debut at Uplands in 2013.
San Jose, California’s John Ellis was one shot behind the leaders with at 10-under thanks to a 4-under 66.