Seamus Power blasted seven birdies in a 64 to go into the final round of the OPHL Classic at Mayakoba just three off the lead and insisted: “I feel comfortable.”
The 29-year old from Tooraneena — the pride of West Waterford Golf Club — was referring to the ease with which he has slotted into the PGA Tour scene over the past few weeks.
But he could also be talking about this week’s test at El Camaleon Golf Club where he will partner former US Open winner Webb Simpson and Chez Reavie in the final round believing he has the game to clinch a maiden PGA Tour victory.
At 15 under par following his immaculate 64 on Saturday, Power knows he will have to go low to win as Gary Woodland (64 65 66) leads by one stroke on 18 under par from Pat Perez (68 66 62) with Scott Piercy (65 66 66) a shot further back in third. All three at Web.com graduates.
“I feel a little more comfortable than I thought I would this early,” Power told the PGA Tour. “I've seen a lot of the guys win between college golf, Web.com, that sort of thing, so I know some of the guys out here. I have kind of an inner belief I can play, so yeah, I feel comfortable.”
Power is under pressure to get as far up the FedEx Cup points list as he can, improving his chances of more starts later in he year, after letting good chances to rack up big points slip away in his last two starts.
After a missed cut on his debut in the Safeway Open Napa, he was tied 29th in the Sanderson Farms Championships where he had a chance to win and tied 57th in the Shriners for Children Open in Las Vegas last week.
With the re-shuffle to come after next week’s final event of the Fall Series in Georgia, this would be a perfect time to strike with the win the clear goal.
He fed off Pat Perez’s 62 on Saturday, and will now have to feed off Simpson and Reavie today to win.
“That always helps,” he said of watching Perez open up with three birdies and an eagle three. “You see the ball going in the hole, you see birdies and you see you need to make something to stay up.
“Sometimes you can get a little defensive so yeah it was great playing with Pat.
“I’m delighted. Everything kind of was pretty decent. A couple of loose shots here and there, but I putted very well. Overall, I'm pleased. I’m still a few back of Gary Woodland playing well, but in decent shape for tomorrow.”
Power birdied the second, third, seventh and eighth to go out in 32, then came back in 32 with further birdies at the 10th, 13th and 14th.
Incredibly, he had just 24 putts in his 64 with 12 of them single putts and five of them to save par at the fifth, sixth, ninth, 11th and 16th.
If he wins, Power would succeed Graeme McDowell as champion, earn $1.11m, some 500 FedEx Cup points and a place in the Masters and many other top PGA Tour events.
He’d also move into the world’s top 150.
If he remained in fourth, he’d still be in the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings and pick up close to €300,000.
As for McDowell, the Portrish man followed up his excellent second round 65 with another 65 to move up to tied 32nd on eight under par.
McDowell had to birdied the 17th on Friday to squeak through on the cut mark after a bad day off the tee and around the greens on Thursday, when he shot 75.