BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A day after shooting a 78 and barely making the cut, it was happy hunting for Andres Romero of Argentina Saturday in the third round of the PGA Championship. Romero tied the competitive course record at Oakland Hills' South Course with a 65 and finished 54 holes just before play was stopped at 2:15 p.m. because of severe weather. His round improved him to two over par, three strokes behind 36-hole leader J.B. Holmes, who hadn't teed off when Romero was done with his seven-birdie, two-bogey masterpiece.
"I played an excellent round -- almost perfect," Romero, a 27-year-old Argentine said through an interpreter as rain began seeping through the media center roof. "Yesterday I finished very mad with my round, and now after this 18 holes â¿¿ I have a chance for tomorrow."
Romero -- who missed being in a playoff at the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie by one shot after finishing with a double bogey and bogey on the last two holes -- birdied five of his first 10 holes, including the drivable No. 6, where his driver tee shot bounced off the flagstick. He earned some sweet revenge on the 16th hole, making a birdie where he scored a quadruple-bogey 8 Friday after two balls backed off the green into the water, causing him to lose his composure.
"I couldn't come back after that 8," he said. "I made a double-bogey at the 18th because I was so mad. I was almost fighting for the lead [after a first-round 69], and suddenly I was trying to make the cut, so I was going mad the whole rest of the round."
Romero is the ninth player to shoot a 65 in competition at Oakland Hills South Course. Th others were George Archer, 1964 Carling World Open; Alan Tapie and David Graham, 1979 PGA Championship; Jack Nicklaus, in the playoff at the 1991 U.S. Senior Open; and Andy North, T.C. Chen and Denis Watson, 1985 U.S. Open; and Tom Lehman, 1996 U.S. Open.
Graham, Nicklaus and North went on to win the tournaments in which they shot a 65. Could Romero do the same? He was sure in a good spot Saturday afternoon, able to rest up for the final round while the leaders waited and wondered when they would tee off. Life was good. "I think the set-up is perfect, I like it very much," Romero said. "The fairways are perfect, the greens are hard but they are a good speed, and the rough -- it's a good rough, you can hit some shots from there."
-- Bill Fields