PGA Tour rookie Nico Echavarria has played 11 events this season. He has made the cut three times, including this week.
Come Sunday, he could hoist a trophy.
Echavarria used a 6-under 30 front nine at Grand Reserve Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, to take a two-shot lead heading into the final round of the Puerto Rico Open, the alternate-field event to the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Echavarria shot 7-under 65 on moving day to hop Carson Young, the 18- and 36-hole leader, and sits at 17 under with one round to go.
“Yeah, it was a dream start,” Echavarria said. “I found something on the range yesterday, and even if I felt nervous out there today on some holes, I just kept putting my game plan and my feeling of what I found on the range and it worked really good. Happy with how I played, happy with the shots I hit when I was under pressure. Hopefully we can do it tomorrow.”
Young, a fellow Tour rookie, posted a 1-under 71 on moving day for his worst round of the week by four shots. But he’ll be in the final pairing also looking for his first PGA Tour victory.
Sam Stevens matched Echavarria’s 7-under performance and sits in a two-way tie for third at 13 under. Nate Lashley, who shot 5 under on Saturday, is also at 13 under. Akshay Bhatia and Harry Hall are tied for fifth at 12 under.
Echavarria’s round got off to a quick start, as he eagled the par-5 second. Birdies followed on Nos. 4-7, and he added two more birdies and a bogey on the back nine.
The winner of the Puerto Rico Open will capture 300 FedEx Cup points and $684,000.