COLUMBUS, Ohio — Martin Flores birdied five of the last seven holes for a 5-under 66 and a three-stroke lead Saturday in the Web.com Tour Finals’ Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.
Already guaranteed a PGA Tour card with a fifth-place finish on the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list, the 34-year-old Flores rebounded from a bogey on No. 11 with birdies on the next four holes and closed with a birdie on 18. He had a 13-under 20 total on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.
“I’m not going to change anything,” Flores said. “I respect every individual out here, and I know that anybody can put together a hot round, so I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing. I know the golf course is very, very difficult and it’s going to be a challenge.”
Flores won the Lincoln Land Charity Championship in July for his first Web.com Tour title.
“I struggled early with lag putting,” Flores said. “I was leaving everything short. Just struggled with the speed. Then as the round went on I started to hit the ball close quite a few times, but I started getting the speed a lot better. So I was very happy with that.”
Tag Ridings, tied with Flores for the second-round lead, was second after a 69. The 42-year-old Ridings was 52nd on the Web.com money list and entered the third of four series events 36th in the race for 25 PGA Tour cards with $9,493.
“It feels great always,” Ridings said. “It feels really good on this golf course to actually beat it three days in a row. So I’m going to try to just stay focused on doing that. You’ve got to beat it off the tee and then you can play in from there.”
The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings and non-members with enough PGA Tour money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup had they been eligible.
Flores and the other top-25 finishers on the Web.com money list earned PGA Tour cards. They are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals.
The other players are fighting for 25 cards based on series earnings . The last PGA Tour card went at $33,650 in 2013, $36,312 in 2014 and $32,206 last year.
Grayson Murray was third at 9 under after a 68. He earned a PGA Tour card with by finishing 18th on the Web.com money list.
Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz (66) and Australia’s Cameron Smith (67) were 8 under. Ortiz was 172nd in the FedEx Cups standings and missed the cuts in the first two series events. Smith was 157th in the FedEx Cups standings and is 48th in the card chase with $6,910.
Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton was tied for sixth at 7 under after a 70. He was 173rd in the FedEx Cup standings and is 63rd among the players vying for the 25 cards with $4,000.