Mother Nature took center stage on Saturday at Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club as temperatures dropped into the mid 60s with wind gusts between 20-30 miles per hour. Despite the tough conditions, Argentine Julian Etulain and Australian Greg Chalmers, who were paired together for the third round, carded matching 67s and posted 201 to grab a share of the lead after 54 holes of the 25th annual Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by NACHER.
Sitting at 12-under-par, Etulain and Chalmers were tied for second when they signed their cards. Fifteen minutes later their names sat atop the leaderboard as Ryan Brehm (70) went double bogey-bogey over his final two holes to drop to 11-under-par with Wesley Bryan (71), who also bogeyed the par-4 finishing hole. Joel Dahmen (66), former Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit No. 1, and 2016 Panama Claro Championship winner Ryan Armour (70) matched the 202 efforts of Bryan and Brehm and find themselves one back heading into Sunday.
Earlier this week, Chalmers teed it up at nearby Links on the Bayou in hopes of earning a spot in the field here in Lafayette. There were more than 300 contestants vying for 12 spots and somehow the 42-year-old from Colleyville, Texas made it through and now finds himself in contention with 18 holes to go.
“It’s the first time I’ve Monday qualified into a Web.com Tour event successfully,” said Chalmers, who was in a six-man playoff for five spots. “I shot 8-under and I got a lot of confidence out of that on Monday.”
Chalmers, who has two Tour victories under his belt, played great in the adverse weather. The PGA TOUR veteran managed to birdie three of his first six holes including two reachable par 5s to jump into contention. While most of the field faltered on the inward nine, Chalmers remained steady, carded a 2-under 33 and continued to climb up the board.
“I don’t mind the windy conditions,” said Chalmers, who is from Western Australia. “I grew up in Perth, the third windiest city in the world. So the wind from the start of the day didn’t bother me.”
Sunday will mark the fifth time Chalmers has taken at least a share of the lead into the final round of a Tour event. Having converted one of the previous four, the 20-year-pro didn’t want to guess what could win it.
“Who knows what it’s going to take,” said Chalmers. “I’ll see how things evolve over the course of the day and hopefully there is a low score out there.”
Growing up in South America and now living and practicing in Miami, Fla., Etulain has played plenty of golf in blustery conditions. With three PGA TOUR Latinoamerica trophies on the mantle at home, the Buenos Aires native has a chance to become the fourth international victor of the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
“I like this golf course,” said Etulain, who will try and become the second Argentinian to win in Lafayette. “Fabian (Gomez) won here, so I’ll try and win tomorrow.”
|1||Julian Etulain||68-66-67—201 (-12)|
|Greg Chalmers||67-67-67—201 (-12)|
|3||Joel Dahmen||69-67-66—202 (-11)|
|Ryan Armour||63-69-70—202 (-11)|
|Wesley Bryan||66-65-71—202 (-11)|
|Ryan Brehm||65-67-70—202 (-11)|