Five birdies on back nine bring Atwal into top-10

September 21st, 2008 - 4:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Junction City, Oregon (US), Sep 21 (IANS) A stunning back nine with five birdies and no bogeys saw Arjun Atwal fight his way into the top-10 of the Oregon Classic golf on a cool, windy day at Shadow Hills Country Club. Atwal (67), lying way back in 57th place after two rounds, is now tied eighth at nine-under 207 and seven shots behind the leader Matt Bettencourt (65) Saturday.

In the third round Atwal was even par after nine with nine pars, before he exploded into a birdie mode.

He birdied the 10th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 18th with some razor sharp iron-play that had finding all the greens in regulation on back nine. “I hit the ball beautifully on that stretch,” said Atwal.

“I needed a round like this, though I have been playing well enough.”

Atwal had lesser putts on first two days, but in the third round he rolled putts at crucial moments.

He missed just two greens in regulation during the day, but on the back nine the crucial thing he also rolled his putts.

Atwal is currently 32nd on the money list but needs to get into top-25 over the next few weeks to avoid going into the Qualifying School to find a place on PGA Tour next year.

Leader Bettencourt was the star of the day with a seven-under 65 replicating his first round card as he took over first place. He was three shots ahead of second-round leader Bubba Dickerson, who had birdies on the last three holes to gain a spot in Sunday’s final pairing.

Bettencourt finished fifth at last week’s Nationwide Tour event.

Atwal lying eighth will need to ensure an even better performance in final round, because four of the players ahead of him in Oregon Classic are all outside top-25 of Nationwide Money List and bidding for a PGA card for next year.

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