It's going to be a much different day Sunday at Congressional -- and with fans back, it's going to be unpredictable. Brendon de Jonge sits on his first 54-hole lead on the PGA TOUR, with 2009 AT&T National champ Tiger Woods sitting just one shot back.
What is your prediction about the final round? Who has the best shot at preventing Woods from his 74th PGA TOUR win -- which will pass Jack Nicklaus for second on the all-time list (Sam Snead, 88).
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU -- If the winner of the Sony Open in Hawaii is the guy who'll make the most birdies, you might want to keep an eye on Brendon de Jonge.
Since 2009, no player on the PGA TOUR has made more birdies than de Jonge. During that stretch, he's carded 1,163 birdies -- 45 more than his closest competitor in that category, Bo Van Pelt.
"I've always been a guy that's made a fair few birdies," de Jonge said. "I go at a lot of flags. At times I'll make a lot of soft bogeys because of that."
If he can avoid those soft bogeys, de Jonge could be in great shape on Sunday to make a run at his first PGA TOUR win.
Brendon de Jonge and Doug LaBelle II tee off at 6:10 p.m. ET. Click here to follow their round on ShotTracker
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU -- Using a new big mallet putter on Thursday, Brendon de Jonge needed 32 putts en route to shooting a 1-over 71.
Overnight, he decided to switch back to the normal-sized putter that he had used last year. Result? An 8-under 62 in Friday's second round in which he needed just 24 putts.
De Jonge said he tried the mallet putter in Wednesday's pro-am and made a couple of nice putts, so he decided to put it in his bag.
"And then obviously yesterday made absolutely nothing," said de Jonge, who ranked 134th in the field in Strokes Gained-Putting in the first round. "Hit the ball similar to how I hit it today. The putter was just the difference."
A big difference. De Jonge's 62 was just two strokes shy of tying the tournament record of 60 by Davis Love III in 1994.
Having corrected the problem, de Jonge is in good shape entering the weekend at the Sony Open in Hawaii. At 7 under for the tournament, he'll be among the last players to tee off in Saturday's third round.
In 2008, de Jonge was voted the Nationwide Tour's Player of the Year. In his 91 TOUR starts since then, he's had 14 top-10 finishes.
Although he's given himself chances to win on several occasions -- at the 2010 Viking Classic, he was the co-leader through the first 36 holes and tied for second entering the final round before finishing tied for third -- he has yet to seal the deal.
Maybe this week?
"I've given myself a lot of really good chances to win," he said. "I feel like I'm getting closer and closer."
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Carl Pettersson isn’t the only player taking advantage of the perfect scoring conditions at Sedgefield on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Brendon de Jonge has just finished a round of 65 that left him in the tie at 9 under. The big man from Zimbabwe has been playing extremely well of late – tying for seventh at the John Deere Classic, 13th at the Viking Classic, fourth at the Greenbrier Classic and 26th at last week’s PGA.
Kyung-tae Kim, who is playing on a special international exemption, also is in that logjam at 9 under after matching de Jonge’s 65. He closed with a 31 on the back that included four birdies.
Tommy Gainey, who leads at 12 under, and Webb Simpson, also at 9 under, tee off at 2:05 p.m. ET
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Brendon de Jonge called it a "terrible" effort.
He was looking at a birdie putt on the 72nd hole. A mere 5 feet, 7 inches stood between the big man from Zimbabwe and a share of the lead at The Greenbrier Classic.
But de Jonge missed. And another chance at his first PGA TOUR victory disappeared, as well.
"I had it straight up the hill ... and barely touched the hole and just had a bad putt," de Jonge said.
Still, the former Virginia Tech standout couldn't be too disappointed. He held a share of the 36-hole lead, lost it with a frustrating 72 on Saturday but rallied and gave himself a chance on Sunday.
De Jonge bogeyed his first hole of the final round, but made the turn in 31 after closing out the front nine with a string of three straight birdies. He went on to make a 5-footer at the par-5 17th to move to 9 under and within one stroke of Bob Estes, who was waiting in the clubhouse.
And then he missed that birdie putt.
"I didn't get off to a great start, obviously, bogeying the first but made a couple of birdies around the turn which got me back in the tournament and gave me a chance on the back nine," de Jonge said. "Just didn't make any putts when I needed to."
Even so, de Jonge, who had two top-10s entering The Greenbrier Classic, continues his love affair with The Old White TPC. He finished solo third a year ago.
"It was fun,” de Jonge said. "It was exciting. Obviously, it would have been nice to make that last one or a couple more coming in, but , no, that was fun."
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Brendon de Jonge has proven quite resilient this week.
He held a share of the lead starting the third round but had a horrible opening nine Saturday at The Old White TPC. After rolling in a 12-footer for birdie on the second hole, de Jonge bogeyed No. 3, doubled the fifth and dropped two more shots before turning in 38.
The big man from Zimbabwe did manage to right the ship on the back nine, though, with a couple of birdies to finish 54 holes at 5 under for the tournament. He was five strokes behind Anthony Kim, as a result.
"I couldn't get the wind right," said de Jonge, who finished third at The Greenbrier last year. "I hit a couple of bad shots in the wrong time and got a couple bad breaks.
"I did (hang in there). It's nice. It gives me a bit of an outside shot on (Sunday)."
Indeed it has. Granted, De Jonge, who went to school at Virginia Tech and has plenty of crowd support, bogeyed the first hole. But he's made four birdies since, including three straight to end the front nine, and currently is tied for second at 8 under, two behind Kim.
"I'll have to get off to a really good start to make a run at it," de Jonge had said on Saturday evening. Mission accomplished.
At the start of the day, Brendon de Jonge had a share of the lead. Now? He’s just trying to salvage what’s been a disaster of a round with four bogeys, one double bogey and one birdie through his first nine holes Saturday.
De Jonge made the turn and has fallen all the way into a tie for 24th seven shots back. A few others have tumbled down the leaderboard, too -- Brian Davis, Derek Lamely and Michael Letzig have all dropped 20 spots as well.
Meanwhile, no one has been able to catch Anthony Kim -- though Scott Stallings is now within two after playing his first dozen holes in 3 under.
With overnight co-leaders Brendon de Jonge and Webb Simpson set to tee off in about 30 minutes from now, here’s a look at how they got to the top of the leaderboard and what’s at stake for both:
Since 2010, no one has made as many birdies on TOUR as de Jonge. One reason he’s made so many this week: He’s hit 30 of 36 greens in regulation so far, which ties for second in the field.
De Jonge is coming off back-to-back top-15 finishes in his last two starts and has moved from 64th to 51st in the FedExCup standings in that time span. This week de Jonge could move inside the top 30 to as high as 20th should he go onto win.
Simpson, meanwhile, leads the TOUR this year in rounds in the 60s with just over half -- 38 of 67 -- in the 60s. To put that in perspective, the average on TOUR is 11 per player.
Of course Simpson has been anything but average. He ranks 10th in total driving, 12th in ball-striking and 14th in scrambling. This week, it’s the putter that’s made the difference for Simpson. He led the field in strokes gained-putting in the opening round and converted a total of 126 feet of putts (fourth-most in the opening round).
Simpson didn’t have that same success in Round 2 -- he made just three putts from over 5 feet -- but he’ll tee off today in position to pursue that elusive first win. At ninth in the FedExCup standings, Simpson is the second-highest ranked player in the FEC without a victory this season (behind Matt Kuchar). However, no player has more top-25 finishes on TOUR season than Simpson. In his 17 starts, he’s accumulated 13 total top-25 finishes. (most on TOUR). Simpson could move as high as second in the FedExCup should he go onto win this week.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Trevor Immelman was headed straight to the putting green after he finished off a round of 70 Friday that left him one shot off the lead held by Brendon de Jonge and Webb Simpson.
The South African had played solidly tee to green, but the flat stick simply wasn't as cooperative as it was during the first round when it produced seven birdies. He needed 31 putts Friday and several short misses early -- two which were for birdie and another came in a three-putt bogey at the fifth -- set the wrong tone for the overnight leader.
"(I) had a funny switch there and kind of took some momentum away from me with the putter there," Immelman said. He thought he found something in his grip, though, that could turn things around on Saturday.
"I think my tendency is to get my grip a little too far down in the fingers on the left hand and then the putter blade doesn't swing back and come through really," he explained. "So I was really just trying to get my grip comfortable and a nice roll between the finish.”
The 2008 Masters champion said the breezes that swirled through the tree-lined course nestled in the scenic mountains of West Virginia made club selection difficult, as well. " The biggest swirling breeze I've ever played on a golf course, even more than Augusta," Immelman said. "The wind really moves around a lot here. That's probably why you see some players coming up 30 feet long, 30 feet short."
Immelman didn't let frustration set in during the second round,
though. After a bogey at the eighth hole dropped him two shots off
the lead, he reeled off eight straight pars before making a
4-footer at No. 17 to get back to even par.
"It was great," Immelman said. "I was grinding it out and made a good up and down there on 17. Like I said, anything that's par or under around here in the afternoon is really good with the way the wind.
"I'm looking forward to (the weekend). Probably the closest I've been to the lead in a little while. It's exciting for me. It's going to be great to have an opportunity."