Harmeling clings to lead in weather-affected BMW Classic

Observer Writer

Sunday, May 19, 2019

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ROSE HALL, St James — American Evan Harmeling held on to his lead late on in yesterday's weather-affected third day of the third BMW Jamaica Classic PGA LatinoAmerica tournament at the Cinnamon Hill Course in Rose Hall, St James, at 17 under par 165 midway the round.

The 30-year-old Harmeling held the lead coming into yesterday's round and continued his steady and impressive stroke playing despite a lightning delay, leading the field by one stroke, at the time of writing, with the tenacious Augusto Nunez of Guatemala just behind him, matching him with a six under par score through the first 10 holes yesterday.

After two days of uninterrupted play, there was a suspension that lasted about two hours from about 1:50 pm as lightning strike was detected within a five miles radius of the course, as per PGA rules, despite almost clear skies over the area.

Every PGA event has a lightning radar and if a strike is detected within the five miles radius, play is suspended until the all clear signal — a blast of an air horn — is given. There will be a further 45-minute delay from the signal, however, giving the players time to get back to the course and also to warm-up to resume play.

The final round is set to start today at 8:00 am, but if yesterday's third round is incomplete, the players will be allowed to finish their rounds before the fourth round gets underway.

American Tom Whitney, the co-leader after the first round and Mito Pereira were in third place on 13 under par followed by Carson Jacobs, Juan Luna, Barrett Kelpin and Dawson Armstrong all on 12 under par.

Norway's Andreas Halvorsen, who is seen as a dark horse and who was tied for fifth last year, was on 11 under par.

The lanky Harmeling was steady throughout with five birdies over the front nine, while Nunez, who was part of a trio of players who were tied for second on 11 under par 133 at the end of the second round on Friday, also got off to a good start yesterday with five birdies of his own on the front nine, stringing three-consecutive birdies from the fifth through to the seventh.

Whitney, the Order of Merit leader who fell off the lead on Friday when he carded a three under 69 after his seven under 65 on the first day, has fought his way back into contention with a three under score after nine holes yesterday.

After bogeying the first hole of the day, Halvorsen who was eight under par after after the first two days back-to-back scores of four under par 68 and was well placed at 13 under par after eight holes, paid for his aggressive style of play by losing strokes midway the round.

He started with a bogey on the first hole of the day, but then caught fire and reeled of six straight birdies, including a brilliant save on the par five sixth hole.

The Norwegian's approach shot just missed the sand trap at the front of the green, but he played it to within inches of the elevated hole and made an easy birdie.

His aggressive play, however, saw him run into trouble on the tricky par three ninth which he bogied then had a double bogey on the 11th hole.

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