Rookie Wilcox savors another special day

Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:21pm EST
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(Reuters) - Shooting a magical 59 on the Tour last year was a career highlight for American Will Wilcox, and the PGA Tour rookie came close to matching that feeling as he charged into contention at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Saturday.

Competing for the third time in a PGA Tour event, Wilcox piled up seven birdies and a lone bogey to card a joint best-of-the-day six-under-par 64 in the third round at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

Birdies on the last two holes earned him an 11-under total of 199 and he will tee off in Sunday's final round a shot behind pacesetting American Chris Kirk.

"I felt pretty good coming down 18," Wilcox told Golf Channel after climbing from a share of 17th place overnight into a tie for second with compatriot Harris English.

"It's nice to play well here and make the first cut in a season that I get to play. Walking down 18, me and my caddie looked at each other and I was kind of having to pinch myself," said the 27-year-old from Birmingham, Alabama.

Wilcox secured his card for the 2013-14 PGA Tour via the lower-tier Tour last year, having won his first title on that circuit in April at the South Georgia Classic in Valdosta.

Three months later he became the fourth player on that tour to shoot a 59, dipping under 60 in the final round of the Utah Championship where he tied for third.

Asked how that experience compared with his impressive title bid so far as a PGA Tour rookie at the Sony Open, Wilcox replied: "The 59 was a special day.

"I had some family in town and the course was set up for me. But I feel like this one does too. I am playing on Bermuda (grass) again and feel like I am back home in Alabama.   Continued...

Will Wilcox of the U.S. drives off the 16th tee during the third round of the Sony Open golf tournament at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii, January 11, 2014. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry