Saturday's Birdies and Bogeys
May 11, 2012
Birdie: Kevin NaThe methodical golfer held up well under the most pressurized conditions he's ever played under. After making the most birdies (16) through 36 holes in the last 30 years at TPC Sawgrass, his third round wasn't as explosive, but it was just as effective. Na was one of only two players (Ben Curtis) in the field to not make a bogey Saturday on his way to shooting 68 and seizing the 54-hole lead. And despite the magnitude of the moment, he still had the wherewithal to wish his mom a happy Mother's Day as he walked down the 18th fairway.
Bogey: Kevin Na's Pre-Shot "Routine"Always known as a slow player, Na's inability to pull the trigger while standing over the ball was downright tough to watch. He constantly faked out the gallery all day with starting and stopping his swing, and on occasion even whiffed on purpose before getting set again. The situation recalled Sergio Garcia's re-gripping woes during the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. Fortunately for Na, the crowds at TPC Sawgrass are a little more patient than those in New York. At least, for now...
Birdie: Rickie FowlerAfter not winning in his first 66 PGA Tour starts, the 23-year-old star is in position to win for a second-straight week. A closing bogey was the only blemish during an otherwise brilliant round. If he picks up another title, expect to see even more orange in the crowd at his next event.
Bogey: Harris EnglishWhen you nearly kill a marshal with your opening tee shot, that's never a good start. Playing in one of the final groups on the weekend for the first time in a big event, the PGA Tour rookie never looked comfortable. A triple-bogey 8 on the second hole was the lowlight in a front-nine 42. His 79 wound up being the second-worst round of the day. Hey, for a guy one year out of school, it still beats taking final exams.
Birdie: Matt KucharThe normally even-keeled Kuchar gave the galleries plenty of excitement, with just two pars on his final 11 holes. However, with six birdies in that stretch, the affable Georgian stayed within reach of capturing the biggest title of his career. We'll see how long he'll be able to smile while playing in the final group with Kevin Na on Sunday.
Bogey: Adam ScottA former winner here, Scott started the day just two off the pace on a leader board littered mainly with guys lacking big wins on their resumes. But despite being perhaps the favorite entering the weekend, the Australian never got anything going, bogeying the first hole and adding two double bogeys, including one on No. 18 that dropped him seven shots behind the leaders.
Birdie: Sergio GarciaAfter an early double bogey, the 2008 Players Champion found himself two-over par. But eight birdies later, Garcia, who made the cut on the number, finds himself within range of the leaders entering the final round. The Spaniard may not believe he has what it takes to win a major, but he knows he is capable of winning the "fifth major."
Bogey: Course Set UpMake that lots of bogeys. TPC Sawgrass may only have been playing 7,000 yards on Saturday, but the pin positions more than compensated for the lack of length. With 16 of 18 holes having locations five paces or fewer from the edge of the green, hitting the ball close was a rarity. Add in a stiffer breeze than the first two days, and firmer greens, and it's no wonder only 10 players broke 70, including just four at 68 or better.
Birdie: Zach JohnsonThe 2007 Masters champion didn't play his best, shooting a 73 that dropped him five shots behind Kevin Na after starting the day with a share of the lead. Considering he had to watch the waggles, contortions and check swings of his playing partner, though, he deserves kudos for that score -- and a different playing partner on Sunday.
Bogey: Tiger WoodsThis may be a little harsh considering his track record at TPC Sawgrass, but the bottom line is Woods didn't make a move on moving day. Despite hitting the ball "probably the most solid" he's hit it all year, Woods only made two birdies on his way to an even-par 72. On the bright side, he's just 18 holes away from actually finishing his first Players in three years.