Published June 23, 2012
| Sports Network
Wichita, KS – Jim Herman didn't have a stellar third round Saturday at the Wichita Open, but his 3-under 68 was enough for him to hold onto a two-stroke lead.
Herman, whose lone Nationwide Tour victory came at the 2010 Moonah Classic, finished 54 holes at 15-under 198.
"I'm in good shape and I've won before at this level so I know I can do it," Herman said. "It's just a matter of going out and executing tomorrow."
Heading into Sunday's final round, his closest competitor will be Casey Wittenberg, who shot a 4-under 67 on the North Course at Crestview Country Club to move to minus-13.
Justin Hicks (65) and Jason Gore (68) share third place at 12-under 201.
The big loser Saturday was Robert Damron, who entered the third round in second place but struggled to a 6-over 77. He is now tied for 49th, 11 shots off Herman's lead.
Damron sank down the leaderboard rather quickly. He was still at minus-10 through four holes, but bogeyed the fifth, had a double bogey at seven, then fell to consecutive bogeys at nine and 10. He never picked up that lost ground, and had a double bogey later in his round to fall out of contention.
Meanwhile, Herman put together a safe, relatively mistake-free round. After four consecutive pars, he birdied the fifth to reach 13-under. He bogeyed the eighth, but picked that stroke back up at the 10th.
Meanwhile, Hicks and Wittenberg were flying up the leaderboard thanks to late runs.
Hicks was sitting at minus-8 through 13 holes, but closed by making four birdies in his final five holes. Wittenberg had bogeyed the seventh to fall to minus-8, but made four birdies in a five-hole stretch from the 10th. That got him to minus-12, and a birdie at his last put him at 13-under.
But Herman managed to stay in front of both. Following his birdie at 10, he parred four in a row, then made a birdie at 15 to go a shot clear of Wittenberg. A birdie at the last provided some breathing room for the 34-year- old, who missed the cut at the U.S. Open last week but is in good position for a win.
Herman said he stayed in San Francisco after missing the weekend at the Olympic Club, because he had rented a house through that Sunday.
"I finally went back out to the golf course on Sunday and that just made me madder for the way I played there at Olympic the first two days," said Herman, who was 10-over when he missed the cut. "Now I know why players leave a tournament after they miss a cut. I came here to Wichita with a purpose and so far this week, I'm playing much better."
Brice Garnett (69) is alone in fifth at minus-11, while three players share sixth at 10-under -- Luke List (68), Joseph Bramlett (71) and Hudson Swafford (70).
NOTES: Wittenberg won earlier this season, capturing his first Nationwide Tour victory at the Louisiana Open...Chad Collins recorded a hole-in-one at the par-3 12th hole. He carded a 71 Saturday and sits in a tie for 39th at minus-5.