Former University of Oregon star Aaron Wise put himself in contention in his Web.com Tour debut by lighting up the scoreboard with birdies Saturday.
Wise shot an 8-under-par 63 in Saturday's third round of the Club Colombia Championship in Bogota to rocket 26 spots up the leaderboard. He was at 10 under and in third place, a shot behind co-leaders Brandon Harkins and Andrew Landry, going into Sunday's final round.
"Obviously I'm off to a good start, and tomorrow's going to be a big day for me," Wise said in an interview with the Web.com Tour media staff. "I think I'm pretty prepared for it."
Jesuit High School graduate Scott Harrington was tied for 28th at 2 under after he shot a 1-over 72 Saturday.
Wise began the day by playing two holes to complete his second round, and he birdied the par-5 eighth and bogeyed the par-4 ninth to finish a 2-under 69 that put him in a tie for 29th.
After starting his third round with a bogey, Wise made 11 birdies, including on his final three holes, to go with three bogeys, as he shot 63 for the third time as a professional. He just missed his low of 62, shot in the opening round of the Mackenzie Tour's Freedom 55 Financial Championship in September.
Wise, who in June became the first Oregon golfer to win the NCAA individual title and helped the Ducks win the team championship, earned 2017 conditional status on the Web.com Tour by finishing fourth on the Mackenzie Tour money list after turning pro in June.
But instead of playing in the two Web.com events in the Bahamas last month, Wise took sponsor's exemptions for two PGA Tour events in his native California. He tied for 34th in the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta and tied for 71st in the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.
Wise has played in six PGA Tour events in the 2016-17 season, five on sponsor's exemptions (non-tour members are allowed seven a season), in an attempt earn enough FedExCup points to gain immediate playing status on the tour. But with 93 points earned in four made cuts, he is short of the 319 to become what's called a "special temporary member" for the rest of the season.
Still, Wise said playing on the PGA Tour provided a good measuring stick for his game.
"I realized how good those guys are and how much better I can still get to get up to their level," he told the Web.com Tour media staff.
Wise attempted to get into last week's PGA Tour event, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but did not earn one of the three spots available in Monday qualifying. So he headed to Colombia to make his Web.com Tour debut.
Wise also could play in next week's Panama Claro Championship in Panama City, where he is listed as an alternate under his conditional status. However, if he finishes in the top 25 in Colombia, he would automatically be in the field in Panama.
The top 25 money earners on the Web.com Tour regular season, which finishes Aug. 27 at the WinCo Foods Portland Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, earn PGA Tour cards for 2017-18. Another 25 cards are issued through the Web.com Tour finals, a four-tournament stretch that follows the WinCo.
-- Mike Tokito
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