Four on top at Miccosukee Championship

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Andrew Buckle, Justin Smith, Chad Collins and Josh Broadaway are knotted atop the leaderboard after Saturday's third round of the Miccosukee Championship.

Buckle (68), Smith (71), Collins (69) and Broadaway (70) each finished 54 holes at nine-under 204. They are one stroke ahead at Miccosukee Golf & Country Club.

Michael Sims (68), Brian Smock (70) and Won Joon Lee (71) are tied for fifth place at minus-eight. Fabian Gomez (68) and Bradley Iles (70) share eighth at seven-under 206.

The second round was completed Saturday morning after play was suspended Friday night. The third round finished on time with players in threesomes off split tees.

This is the final, full-field event on the 2009 Nationwide Tour season. The top-60 players on the money list after the final round are invited to next week's Tour Championship and the top 25 after that earn PGA Tour cards for 2010.

Buckle and Collins are guaranteed spots next week and Collins is likely headed to the PGA Tour next year. Collins is eighth on the money list and Buckle is 28th.

Smith and Broadaway are on the outside looking in for next week, although Broadaway might earn enough to move from 88th inside the top 60. Smith is 128th.

Buckle, the first-round leader, bogeyed the second hole, but recovered nicely with a birdie at the par-four third. He added another birdie on the front side, at the par-four seventh, to make the turn at seven-under par for the championship.

The Aussie birdied 13 and 17 to get into the clubhouse first at minus-nine.

"I got the ball up-and-down a lot, which you need to do in wind like this," said Buckle. "I didn't drive it bad but I don't think I hit many fairways. It's really hard to get any rhythm with your swing because you're always hitting into crosswinds and such. If you're just slightly off in the wind it can really affect it quite a bit."

Smith, the second-round leader, bogeyed the opening hole, but closed that front side with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 7 and 8. He drove into a bunker at the par-five 10th and never recovered en route to a bogey.

Smith got the stroke back with a birdie at 14 that moved him to 10-under par. A poor drive into the tall grass at the closing hole dropped him from sole possession of the lead.

Collins had three birdies through seven holes, but bogeyed the ninth. He sank a long birdie putt at the 13th, but gave that shot away with a bogey at the 15th.

Collins got back to 10-under par with a birdie at the par-three 17th, but an errant drive at 18 hurt. He landed his approach in a greenside bunker, then blasted out into another trap. Collins did well to have 12 feet for bogey and he converted the putt to stay in first.

"If there was ever a good bogey, that was one of them," said Collins. "I had a bad lie in the fairway, a tough lie in the back bunker and a terrible lie with my third shot."

Broadaway bogeyed one, but rattled off three consecutive birdies from the fifth. He went one-over par over the next five holes, but a short birdie putt at 16 gave him a piece of first.

Like Collins, Broadaway stumbled at the last. He hit the green in regulation, but three-putted for an unlikely bogey that cost him first to himself.

10/17 17:51:39 ET

The Sports Network, a STATS Company. All Rights Reserved.  home | terms of use | privacy policy | comments |