Barracuda notebook: Kelly Kraft hones his skills to move up; Beglin wins contest
RENO — Saturday is considered moving day on the PGA Tour, and Kelly Kraft made a huge jump up the leaderboard at the Barracuda Championships.
Kraft recorded eight birdies and one bogey en route to a 15-point effort over the Montreux Golf & Country club layout. It was a big improvement from his 5-point day on Thursday and his 2-point effort on Friday.
Kraft has 22 entering today’s final round, moving from 68th into a tie for 12th.
“I actually hit it the same I did as the first two days,” Kraft said. “But I finally made some putts. I worked hard, putted yesterday for about two hours after my round and found a little something and just started kind of rolling in some 10-to-15-footers early and got it rolling.
“I hope I’ll have a later tee time tomorrow. I think with 15 points today I probably will. Not going to think about it too much. Hopefully the wind picks up a little bit in the afternoon, makes it a little tougher for the guys. But I know the greens do get a little trickier. There are less guys on them on the weekend. But still they do get a little bumpy. Hopefully I can just keep rolling some putts in.”
Kraft started with a par, but rattled in birdie putts of 15, 14 and 11-feet, respectively, on the next three holes. After back-to-back pars on Nos. 5 and 6, he dropped in a 16-footer for birdie on the par-3 7th. On No. 9, he lofted a 108-yard wedge to 4 feet and made the putt to complete the 10-point front side.
He birdied three of the first seven holes on the back nine, but finished with a bogey on No. 18 when his tee shot ended up unplayable. He two-putted from 21 feet, the only blemish on his round.
“The last hole was unfortunate,” Kraft said. “I actually thought I hit a good drive there. I guess the wind was a little more into me than I thought, and I took too aggressive of a line.”
The toughest hole in the third round was the par-4 12th which played to an average of 4.235, yielding just five birdies all day. The easiest hole was the par-5 13th which played to a 4.469, yielding seven eagles and 37 birdies on the day.
There were 11 eagles and 343 birdies on the day.
Charlie Danielson and Tim Herron have scored nine points on the par-5 18th, and share the lead in the chase for the Barracuda Bonus.
A new feature of the tournament, the player who scores the most points on the 18th wins $50,000. Half of the money goes to a charity or charities in the Reno-Tahoe area, and the other half goes to a charity picked by the winner.
Danielson eagled the 18th the first two days and bogeyed it on Saturday. Herron has an eagle and two birdies.
LASAR OPERATOR INJURED
A female lasar operator was injured after being struck in the head by a golf ball on the par-4 6th Saturday. The volunteer was taken to the hospital. A witness to the event said the woman needed some stitches, but was walking fine when she left the course.
Carson City’s Karen Beglin, 13, won first place in the local Drive, Chip & Putt qualifier at Montreux.
Beglin plays in the Northern Nevada Junior Golf Association Tour and she recently qualified for the Junior World Championships later this month at Torrey Pines in San Diego.