Threat of weather adds to storyline-filled Sunday at Wyndham
Reed interview after Round 3 of the Wyndham Championship
Following a third-round 71, Patrick Reed reflects on his play in the 2013 Wyndham Championship with Mark Immelman from PGA TOUR Radio on PGATOUR.COM and SiriusXM.August 17, 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The rain, which ranged from misty to moderately heavy on Saturday, was certainly annoying.
At least it was relatively warm, though. Robert Garrigus, after all, grew up in Oregon and "I know what cold rain is," he said.
Confronted by a forecast that called for a 90 percent chance of the wet stuff, tournament officials had actually tried to trick Mother Nature by starting the third round of the Wyndham Championship early and sending players off split tees. But she slapped them with a delay of 2 hours, 59 minutes anyway while the leaders were still hitting balls on the range.
Given the wait, John Huh, who trailed Patrick Reed by one and joined him in the final group, said Saturday was "probably the longest day I think I ever felt on the golf course." That triple bogey he made on the second hole didn't help, either.
Even so, everyone completed their round.
"Honestly, when they blew the horn I was on the range warming up with the three-hour delay, I didn't think we would finish today," Zach Johnson said. "So, frankly, it just feels good to be done and not have to play ... more than 18 holes tomorrow."
Sunday, though, is expected to bring more of the same wet weather to Sedgefield, a Donald Ross gem that can't take much more water after a soggy summer. But what could turn out to be another stop-and-start day will have a sense of urgency, too.
Not only do 14 players start the final round within five strokes of the lead shared by Reed and Huh, countless others without a realistic shot to win the Sam Snead Trophy still have a chance to improve their position in the FedExCup standings -- or earn a spot in the Playoffs. So every shot will count.
"It's a Monday qualifier," Reed, who prevailed in six last year, said simply. "I had a lot of success on Monday qualifiers and it's basically what it is. I mean, everybody is back in the field. To now all of a sudden to have it as bunched as it is it's going to be whoever makes as many birdies as possible tomorrow and shoots the low number."
Zach Johnson, who trails by one as he seeks the 10th win of his PGA TOUR career, doesn't expect to see someone separate himself early on Sunday. But should that happen, Johnson would be a good bet -- he's riding the momentum of four straight top-10s, including a playoff loss to Jordan Speith, who also happens to be tied with him and Bob Estes at 9 under, at the John Deere Classic last month.
"It's hard to break away on a golf course with the depth and talent like this," said Johnson, whose third-round 66 tied for the low of the day. "The scores are pretty indicative of that. ... I'm excited for the challenge and it's a dogfight. It's going to come down to probably the last four, five holes."
If so, Sedgefield's finish poses an interesting mix. The 14th has been the hardest hole this week while the 18th ranks as the second. But the par-5 15th has yielded five eagles and 168 birdies and the 16th and 17th have been the 14th and 10th most generous over the first three rounds.
With a scoring average of 71.397 on Saturday, Sedgefield played better than a stroke more difficult than it had in the first or second rounds. Only one player was bogey-free compared with seven on Thursday and six on Friday.
"It was a lot of fun out there," said Brian Harman, whose round of 69 left him tied with Garrigus and Matt Every at 8 under. "At the same time it was a bear."
The Bermudagrass planted on Sedgefield's undulating greens two years ago more than held its own, too. Expect the same on Sunday.
"On No. 2 today I saw two guys putt it straight off the green," Garrigus reported. "I hit a pitching wedge into 2 and hit it over the back and got up and down. I felt like I made an eagle. Both the guys in my group played it 5 over.
"Speed is key. ... The greens are so fast. It was raining today and the greens are still rolling 13 (on the Stimpmeter). ... I'm sure they'll be just as fast tomorrow."
Neither Reed nor Huh, a pair of 23-year-olds who will be grouped with the veteran Johnson on Sunday, have ever held the lead entering the final round of a PGA TOUR event. Shoot, Reed has only played in 37 in his brief career while Huh has just 52 under his belt.
Huh does have a win on his resume, beating Robert Allenby on the eighth hole of sudden death at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba last year after the Aussie double bogeyed the 72nd hole, but he's missed his last four cuts. Reed, on the other hand, has top-10 finishes in three of his last six starts.
"I had opportunities," Reed said. "... The only difference was Saturday took me completely out of the tournament. This time, yeah, it brought everybody back in, but at the same time I'm still tied for the lead."
And lest we forget -- "This is what we're playing for," Huh said. "That's why you want to put yourself in this spot and that's why you spend tons of time out there practicing. So I'm really looking forward to it, and it's going to be good golf."
Even if the weather fails to cooperate.