OPELIKA, Ala. – Jhonattan Vegas’ lead was down to three strokes Saturday when rain finally stopped third-round play in the Barbasol Championship.
Six shots ahead after a course-record 11-under 60 on Friday, Vegas was 1 over for the round and 16 under overall playing the par-4 14th when play was stopped on Grand National’s Lake Course.
The 29-year-old Venezuelan Olympic qualifier failed to qualify for the British Open and has only past champion status – he won the 2011 Bob Hope Classic for his lone tour title – on the PGA Tour. The winner Sunday will get a two-year exemption and a spot in the PGA Championship, but will not be exempt for the Masters.
David Toms and Aaron Baddeley were 13 under.
The 49-year-old Toms was 4 under for the day with four holes left.
Baddeley shot a 64, chipping in on the par-4 18th for his third straight birdie. The 35-year-old Australian, also limited to past champion status, won the last of his three titles in 2011 at Riviera.
“All I was thinking is just playing golf,” Baddeley said. “If you try and force the issue, that’s usually when you go backwards. I was just trying to play golf, just keep playing, keep hitting good shots and, if I keep doing that, there’s a chance I’m going to shoot a low score and I did that.”
Michael Johnson, the former Auburn player making his pro debut, was tied for fourth at 11 under with five holes to go.
Sam Saunders also was 11 under along with Stuart Appleby, Brian Harman, Roberto Castro and Hudson Swafford. Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, shot a 65.
“It’s just a nice solid round, I played really well,” Saunders said. “Momentum got thrown off a little bit there with the rain delay, but I’m still pleased with the way I finished and put myself in a good position for tomorrow.”
Appleby had a 66. Harman had two holes left, Castro four, and Swafford five.
Canadian Olympian David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., was 2-under through 17 holes when play was halted. He holds a share of 21st, while fellow Olympian Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., sits T37 and is in the midst of a 4-under round with one hole to play in his third round.