WICHITA, Kan. (Release, KWCH) – Erik Compton used a third-round 3-under 67 at Crestview Country Club to take the 54-hole lead at the Wichita Open Supporting Wichita’s Youth.
Despite a bogey on his opening hole, Compton rebounded with birdies on Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 9 to make the turn at 12-under for the week. He kept his momentum going with pars on Nos. 10-13 and tallied another birdie at the par-5 14th. A late bogey on the par-3 17th moved him back to 12-under for the tournament, one stroke clear of the field.
“I drove the ball very well for the first day, but the last couple days, I scrambled,” said Compton, who hit 11 of 18 greens on Saturday. “I just made some really great up-and-downs. I feel like I was chipping from behind the hole a lot. I’m just really happy with my position.”
In 13 events this season, Compton has recorded five top-25s and is currently ranked 63rd in The 25. Earlier this year at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club, Compton held a share of the third-round lead and went on to finish T25.
“I think that everyone feels pressure and you have to embrace the pressure,” he said. “For me, with my body, it’s a race against me instead of the field. I’ve been doing this a long time and sometimes it’s harder than others and I know tomorrow will be a battle. I look forward to it.”
The 39-year-old has spent time on both the PGA TOUR and Korn Ferry Tour. He earned his first Korn Ferry Tour title at the 2011 El Bosque Mexico Championship. The former University of Georgia standout last played a full season on the PGA TOUR in 2016, and has his sights set on his return.
“To be honest, tomorrow is going to be a shootout; you’ve got a lot of great players there at the top of the leaderboard,” he said. “I think the strategy tomorrow is to pretty much do the same thing I did today. I need to go out and attack pins when I have opportunities and see if the body holds up.”
A pack of players including Chad Ramey, Kevin Dougherty, Henrik Norlander and Bryan Bigley sit just one-stroke off the lead at 11-under 199.
Ramey, who began the day four strokes off the lead, caught fire on his opening nine with birdies on Nos. 2 – 5. After pars on Nos. 6-8, he tallied another birdie on the ninth to reach 11-under for the week. Ramey carded one birdie against one bogey on his back nine to finish T2.
“It was one of those things where everything was going well,” Ramey said. “I didn’t hit it real close, but it wasn’t like I was making bombs. Just making some 8-foot or 10-foot putts. I chipped in one that was straight up the hill. Everything was just working.”
Ramey is currently ranked 107th in The 25 and has made seven cuts in 16 starts. The 26-year-old has two top-25s so far this season. With players beginning to secure PGA TOUR cards, the Mississippi State University alum needs a solid finish to get back in the race for The 25.
“It means everything,” Ramey said on being in contention. “That’s why I’m here. I’m just looking forward to it and I’ll see where tomorrow goes.”
Due to inclement weather in the forecast, the fourth round will begin at 8:30 with the leaders teeing off at 10:30. They will tee off in threesomes from both holes one and 10.