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Madigan poised for victory

Third-round leader at Players Cup feels he's due for a 'W'

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Timothy Madigan of New Mexico gets as low as he can go to read this putt. Madigan holds a two-shot lead entering today's final round of the Players Cup at Pine Ridge.

SARAH TAYLOR / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Timothy Madigan of New Mexico gets as low as he can go to read this putt. Madigan holds a two-shot lead entering today's final round of the Players Cup at Pine Ridge. Photo Store

Timothy MADIGAN didn't need any truth serum on Saturday. He was more than happy to share just how he's looking at the final round of the Players Cup, which he leads by two shots.

 

"I hate to put it this way but I feel like I'm due," said the 25-year-old from Las Cruces, N.M. after shooting a three-under-par 68 to get to the top of the leaderboard at nine-under-par 204. He's two in front of Fargo's Josh Persons, who's won already this year at Victoria when Madigan was tied for second. "I've been close this year... so I just feel like it may be my time. I've just got to not worry about it."

Madigan also has a solo third at Ft. McMurray on his chart and sits fourth on PGA Tour Canada's money list this year, one slot behind Persons.

So there's lots to think about today, including the $27,000 top prize, when that final pair go off at 12:30 p.m. at Pine Ridge Golf Club.

"Every time you're near the lead, it definitely gives you a little bit of what you need to do the next time," Madigan said of his close calls this year. "I've had enough experience with amateur golf, college golf and professional golf, that I definitely can handle it no problem. But I've still got to play very well tomorrow.

"The more lead the better, but there are plenty of great players behind me and definitely anybody can play well on this course. Definitely not out of the woods yet."

Of course, it doesn't appear to be a two-man race.

Three shots off the lead is American Ricky McDonald, who aced Pine Ridge's 14th hole right after Saturday's storm. Four back are Americans Jay Myers, who had a slick 67, and third-round leader Erik Barnes, who stumbled to 75.

And a hot round today from any one of the eight players at 4-under, including 2012 champ Chris Killmer (65 Saturday), tour money leader Joel Dahmen (69) or Canadians Ryan Yip (71), Beon Yeong Lee (72) or Matt Hill (74) could force some shock therapy on the leaders, to be sure.

Madigan did a nice job after the afternoon storm delay of 95 minutes, making two birdies in five holes to claim sole possession of the lead.

"The conditions got a lot easier," he said of the near lack of wind after the weather blew through.

Persons joined his rival in today's final pairing by finishing with some gusto -- birdies at the 16th and 18th to make it to seven-under.

He was happy to have survived the weather and his own poor play early in the day, he said.

"Crazy wind," Persons said. "I was having trouble figuring out the exact direction. You hit a bad shot on top of it, you get punished.

"I was holding on a little tight at the start of the round, made double at the second hole and that actually loosened me up. It was kind of like a wake-up call, that I could let it go.

"That rain delay really helped me. The wheels were coming off there and I got 20 minutes to figure it out on the range. I needed that."

Persons said he's eager to get in there and slug it out, trying to become the event's second winner from Fargo. His buddy Tom Hoge won here in 2011.

"I really wanted to play in the last group," Persons said. "It's where you want to be. We're going head-to-head here. It'll be fun."

Among Madigan's other chasers, Myers might be the one playing with a little house money.

He looked to headed down the road with those that didn't make the cut, five-over after his first 11 holes on Thursday.

Then, a light went on somewhere. He salvaged a 74 out of that mess and then battled farther back with 67s both Friday and Saturday.

"I put myself in a hole after that first nine," Myers said about Thursday. "The first nine holes I just kept hitting it in the trees, chipped out a couple of times, three-putted a couple of times. Wasn't playing terrible but wasn't playing well.

"I just tried to stay patient because I missed the cut last week. It was kind of in my own head. Sometimes you've just got to keep hitting it. Sometimes there's no fix to it. You've just got to keep plugging. That's what I was going for."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2014 B7

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