Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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Roberto Diaz claims 54-hole lead at Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by MISTRAS

BROUSSARD, La. – Roberto Diaz carded a bogey-free 7-under 64 on Saturday to reach 15-under through three rounds at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by MISTRAS. Diaz leads Peter Uihlein by two strokes entering the final round at Le Triomphe Golf & Country Club.

Diaz turned in 3-under 33 after birdieing the three par-5s on the front nine. He collected two more at Nos. 11 and 12 before almost acing the par-3 16th. After tapping in, he added one more birdie from 11 feet at the par-4 17th to cap the round, his lowest since a 64 last July at the TPC San Antonio Challenge at the Canyons.

“It was a very good round, but as I told you guys yesterday, there’s a lot of golf left,” cautioned Diaz. “I’ve been in this position once in my life that I really messed it up and I really don’t want to think about it.”

Diaz credited his turnaround this week to a new outlook on golf. Part of that is owed to having his first child in December, something that Diaz says has changed his perspective while out on the course. Another catalyst to his relaxed viewpoint was caddying for his good friend Abraham Ancer on the PGA TOUR a couple of weeks ago at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession.

“I think caddying for Abe really helped me out,” reflected Diaz. I think that week was more helpful than I thought. I see a lot of joy when he plays and that got me to realize that he’s just playing golf. When I’m at home that’s how I play. I play a lot with my friends and I smile, I make jokes and I give them crap. I think that’s what I do best and that’s how I play my best golf and I’ve never done it on the golf course.”

Despite graduating from the Korn Ferry Tour once before in 2017, the 34-year-old has yet to break through with a win in 112 career starts. He has finished runner-up three times, most recently at the 2020 Panama Championship. Diaz competed on the PGA TOUR for two seasons after graduating in 2017 before returning to the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020.

“I’ve always played with a lot of pressure and I always play with a lot of, like, I wanted it so much,” said Diaz, a San Antonio resident who went back to his original hometown of Veracruz, Mexico last week for the first time in a year and a half. “Right now I’m happy where I’m at. I have a great group of guys around me, I have a kid now, my wife is awesome. If I win tomorrow it’s going to be great, but if I don’t win that baby’s going to wake up on Monday and he’s going to smile the same way he smiled today…I think I’m kind of understanding that this is just a game.”

Diaz will carry a two-stroke lead over Uihlein – and a five-stroke lead over the rest of the field – entering the final round. Diaz has held a share of the 54-hole lead once before at the 2018 Albertsons Boise Open but finished fifth.

Final-round tee times will run from 7:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. on Sunday off of the first tee.

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