With the FedEx St. Jude Classic basically coming down to essentially match play between Robert Karlsson and Harrison Frazar, here’s a look at how the two have played the final three holes at TPC Southwind.
Karlsson has played Nos. 16 through 18 in a collective even par with two birdies and two bogeys. The latter of course could be fresh in the Swede’s mind since he bogeyed Nos. 17 and 18 to close out his third round.
Frazar on the other hand is a combined 4 under with four birdies and no bogeys -- he birdied Nos. 16 and 18 in the second and third rounds.
There’s a little over nine holes to play for the final group at TPC Southwind, but the way things are going it’s turned into a two-man race between Robert Karlsson and Harrison Frazar in that group.
Karlsson is 13 under (2 under today) and so is Frazar (3 under today) after a bogey by the former on the par-3 eighth. Both are trying to win on the PGA TOUR for the first time in their respective careers.
Retief Goosen is the next closest player, but he’s four shots back after playing his first eight holes in 2 under.
A number of others, including Charles Howell III and Camilo Villegas, are at 4 under and have moved into the top 10 but all are well back of the lead and running out of holes.
After failing to take advantage of the par-5 third hole, Robert Karlsson responded with a birdie on the par-3 fourth.
Karlsson stuck his approach to just over six feet on the par-3, which is playing as the seventh most difficult hole on the course right now.
Playing partner Harrison Frazar, who was briefly tied for the lead with Karlsson, missed the green short but got up and down on No. 4 to save par.
Thanks to birdies on two of his first three holes, including an impressive one from the left rough on the opening hole, Harrison Frazar is tied for the lead with Robert Karlsson at 12 under.
Frazar’s other birdie came on the par-5 third hole, where he rolled in a 16-footer.
Karlsson, meanwhile, also opened with a birdie but he failed to capitalize on the par-5 third. After missing the green left on his second shot there, Karlsson left his pitch short of the green and had to get up and down just to salvage par.
Retief Goosen birdied his first two holes, but he also failed to capitalize on the par-5 third. Still, he’s just three shots off the lead in the early going of the final round.
We’re currently two-thirds of the way through the 2011 PGA TOUR Regular Season, as the FedEx St. Jude Classic marks the final 11-week stretch of 33 weeks toward the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
Leader Robert Karlsson sits 98th in the FedExCup standings with just one top-10 in his first 10 starts of the season. That will obviously change today and could in a big way -- Karlsson could move as high as 27th with a victory this week.
Harrison Frazar, meanwhile, entered the week 178th in the FedExCup standings after coming off his first top-15 finish of the season at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, where he tied for 14th.
Frazar could potentially crack the top 70 in the standings with a win this week. He needs to finish solo fourth or better to move inside the top 125 in the standings.
Currently 145th in the standings, John Merrick could jump as
high as 32nd with a win. Merrick will likely need
to finish solo 14th to move inside the top 125.
Retief Goosen is 147th in the FedExCup standings with just one top-25 finish this season, but he too could make a big leap. Last year, Goosen accumulated 464 points in the final 11 weeks of the season, which included three top-10 finishes. Right now, he’s projected to move to 94th in the standings.
Here’s a breakdown of today’s final pairing, Robert Karlsson and Harrison Frazar, who will tee off in about a half hour. Karlsson was cruising along in the third round until a couple of late bogeys -- and a birdie by Frazar on the final hole -- cut the Swede’s lead to just one.
· Karlsson is now 21 under in his last seven rounds at
TPC Southwind with 31 birdies, and just 10
bogeys in his last 126 holes played here.
· Karlsson has been dialed in with his irons hitting 72 percent of the greens in regulation -- tied for first in the field -- and is averaging just over of 30 feet to the pin on all approach shots (18th in the field).
· Around the greens, Karlsson has successfully salvaged par or better 12 times (out of 15 missed greens), which ranks fifth in the field in terms of scrambling.
· Entering the week, Karlsson ranked 140th on TOUR for strokes gained-putting, losing nearly a quarter of a stroke per round to the field. This week, he’s gained 1.750 strokes per round on the field.
· Frazar started his week with a 1-over 71 and was tied for 54th through his first 18 holes. However, Frazar has 12 birdies and just one bogey over his last 36 holes.
· For the week, Frazar ranks T14 in total driving, eighth
in ball striking, T5 for greens in regulation, T7 for
proximity to the hole, fourth in scrambling and ninth for strokes gained-putting.
· In the opening round Frazar lost nearly three strokes to the field with his putter. He’s turned things around since, gaining over seven strokes on the field with his putter over his last 36 holes.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
By his own account, Harrison Frazar had been overthinking. The result was some less-than-stellar golf for the veteran, including missed cuts in five of his last six starts.
Then he went out and shot 64 on the back end of a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier in 105-degree heat at Dallas Athletic Club earlier this week to earn a spot in the field at Congressional.
“I came in here feeling real close,” Frazar said after a 64 Saturday that has him one shot out of the lead at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. “[That] showed me that if I would just relax and quit thinking about things too hard, there's some pretty good stuff underneath there.”
There was a lot of good stuff in the third round from TPC Southwind, where Frazar closed with three birdies over his last four holes.
Frazar’s road to this point has not only been long, it’s been littered with injury.
Last year, he had surgery on his left hip after not being able to get his weight to the left side of his body in his swing the last few years -- and you might remember he shot 59 at 2008 q-school.
Frazar felt better after the surgery but there was still some scar tissue -- physically and mentally, he says -- in getting to the left side. So when he missed the cut in New Orleans earlier this year, Frazar went home and out to the driving range, where took 600 balls and told himself he was going to get on his left side even “if my body breaks.”
Well, Frazar ended hurting himself and needed to skip the Wells Fargo Championship.
The upside to it all was that Frazar ended up with three weeks off because he wasn’t in the field for THE PLAYERS Championship or the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial either.
“I was able to get my body feeling right,” Frazar said. “I was able to have good focus sessions with my coach and by myself getting to my left side and learning how to trust that.”
With Robert Karlsson comfortably up by four and staring at yet another birdie late in his round at TPC Southwind the Swede is not only poised for his first win on the PGA TOUR, he would move way up in the FedExCup standings with a victory.
Karlson, who entered the week 98th in the standings ( click here for projected points ), would move to 27th if the tournament ended now and he could climb even higher than that.
That wouldn’t be the biggest leap, however. That honor would go to Harrison Frazar, who came into the week 178th but is projected to move to 80th.
It’s been an easier day for scoring at TPC Southwind, where the second-round scoring average is nearly a stroke less than it was in the opening round. Fredrik Jacobson and Harrison both took advantage of those conditions.
After each opened with 71s on Thursday, both shot 65 on Friday.
Jacobson’s score could have been even better, but the Swede bogeyed his final hole, the difficult par-4 18th. It was the second day in a row he made bogey there. Other than that, Jacobson didn’t miss much, taking just 23 putts on his way to seven birdies and just one other bogey.
Frazar, meanwhile, was bogey-free in his 65. He made three birdies over his final six holes, including on the 18th.
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Harrison Frazar has posted the round of the tournament so far with a 65 Saturday.
Frazar’s round of 6 under moved him up 37 spots on the leaderboard and into a tie for ninth. It included a 31 on the front nine, which was his second of the day.
Frazar only hit five fairways in the third round but he doubled that in terms of greens in regulation. Those 24 putts didn’t hurt, either. – Helen Ross