PUNTA CAANA, Dominican Republic Matt WallaceEngland birdied his three last holes Friday to record a 6-under-66 and a one shot lead going into the Corales Puntacana Championship.
Wallace missed six of the seven cuts on PGA Tour before he was in contention last week in Valspar Championship. He tied for seventh place, and it appears that he’s carried some of that momentum into the Dominican Republic.
Wallace, a three time European Tour winner, said that “Lovely Place” was his favorite place. “The wind is very consistent so it’s quite simple in that sense that one knows where the wind is, as well as some good stuff. I’m hitting it well off the tee so I’m giving myself quite some chances.
This is Wallace’s second time at least sharing the 36-hole lead on PGA Tour. He was part in a three way tie at Quail Hollow two year ago in the Wells Fargo Championship where he ended up tied for sixth.
Wallace was at 11-under133.
Brice GarnettHe was the 2018 Puntacana winner. He was sticking to his strategy of making birdies on the par 5s, which he won in 2018. He was able to score three, but his round was slow and he lost a shot on the par 5s.
He was part a group of 8-under 136 which included Akshay BhattiaThe 21-year-old prodigy who graduated high school. Bhatia was a runner up in a different event at Puerto Rico three years ago, which earned him temporary tour membership.
He’s entitled to unlimited exemptions. However, he would need to win to become immediate member. He played Friday, as though that might not seem too far away.
Bhatia left the course in 29 with a card bogey. He had six birdies as well as an eagle and was 9 under for his round. He missed the fairway at the 13th and failed to birdie par-5 14. He was forced to settle for a 63.
Bhatia stated, “You just never know what this game will bring.” “Yesterday I didn’t make any putts. However, I had 34 putts. I hit it really solid. … Today, however, I made more putts and hit it just the same as yesterday. I hope you keep it up. It will be exciting in the next few days.
He didn’t realize he had been in the tournament until too late. He didn’t even see Corales golf course until Wednesday. He played about six to seven holes.
Playing with friends was a bonus. MJ DaffueSouth Africa, who had a hole -in-one on 17th hole and was at 5-under 139.
The cut came in at even-par 144. The mix still includes Erik ComptonTwo-time heart transplant recipient, who was granted a sponsor exemption. He had a 68, and was six behind.