Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

The Loop

Pebble Beach hints at benevolence

June 19, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Can Tiger Woods, or any of the other competitors who trail Graeme McDowell, make up ground Saturday at Pebble Beach? Early returns from the third round suggest there are birdies to be made.

Davis Love III is the man who can give the rest of the field the most hope. Seven over par to start the day, Love teed off at 10:40 a.m. local time and made birdies on the second and third holes. He then took advantage of the fact USGA officials have moved up the tee box on the par-4 fourth hole some 40 paces, allowing it to play just 284 yards to the hole. With a 3-wood Love drove the green, then converted the 20-foot eagle putt. After a bogey on the fifth hole, he made birdies on the six and ninth to finish with an opening-nine 30.

Aside from a shorter fourth hole, golfers will also play the par-3 seventh at just 99 yards.

Others who have taken advantage to some favorable conditions on the front side are David Duval, who was four under through his first seven holes after making an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole, and Henrik Stenson, three under through six holes.

Conversely, there are big numbers out there too, if you're not playing smartly. Just ask past Masters champions Mike Weir and Zach Johnson. Weir closed out his third round with a bogey on the 18th hole for a 12-over 83 while Johnson shot a seven-under 78.

-- Ryan Herrington