By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Colt Knost trails leader Carl Pettersson by just a stroke entering the final round here at Harbour Town, and he’s at that point through a little bit of smoke and mirrors.
Coming into the week, Knost ranked 129th on the PGA TOUR in scrambling. This week? He’s fourth in the field, converting 15 of 19 opportunities for par or better. But he’s also rolled the ball well, leading the field in strokes gained-putting at 7.8 strokes gained on the field.
The biggest difference on the greens for Knost? He’s 14-for-16 in the 4-8 foot range -- much improved over his season average of 68 percent, which ranks 71st on TOUR.
Here are more numbers on Knost, who is looking for his first career win.
Colt Knost - This Week vs The Field
|Stat||This Week||Field Average|
|Scrambling||79 percent (4th)||58 percent|
|Sand saves||100 percent (T1)||47 percent|
|Strokes gained-putting||+7.8 (1st)||--|
|Putting average||1.571 (2nd)||1.741|
|Putting 4-8 feet||88 percent (7th)||68 percent|
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Carl Pettersson hit a picture-perfect approach shot on the picturesque 18th hole Saturday at Harbour Town Golf Links. The result was a birdie to cap a 5-under 66 to give the Swede a one-shot lead heading into the final round of the RBC Heritage.
On a mostly sun-drenched day along the Calibogue Sound, Pettersson ran off five birdies in a row at one point, racing to the top of the leaderboard as he made the turn in 31. His pace was slowed by two bogeys on the back nine, but they were offset by some phenomenal ball-striking that led to seven birdies on the afternoon.
Harbour Town is known for having the smallest greens on the PGA TOUR, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Pettersson is in front after leading the field in greens in regulation through the first three rounds. Saturday, he hit 14 greens for a second straight day.
But that’s only half the story. Pettersson also putted well, taking just 26 putts in the third round. He’s tied for first in putts per green in regulation and 15th in strokes gained-putting.
Knost, meanwhile, is second in putting and sixth in greens hit. He also recovered from a shaky start.
Leading at the start of the day, Knost bogeyed the opening hole when he pushed his tee shot into the trees. He eagled his next hole when he rolled in a 48-footer from just off the green of the par 5, but gave another stroke back with a bogey on the third hole.
It was mostly smooth sailing from there, however, with Knost making three birdies and just one bogey the rest of the way.
Three years ago, Knost led going into the final round of the Shell Houston Open only to shoot 81 on Sunday.
For most of the day, it looked as if the RBC Heritage would be a two-horse race between Pettersson and Knost.
Zach Johnson, however, shot a 66 as well and is four strokes off the lead.
Boo Weekley, who won here in 2007 and 2008, is in fourth place at 7 under after shooting 70.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- The last time Colt Knost led on the PGA TOUR, the end result didn’t turn out so well.
Leading after the second and third rounds of the 2009 Shell Houston Open, Knost shot a final-round 81 to tumble to a tie for 42nd. After a 66 on Friday to take a two-shot lead to the weekend at 9 under, he’s hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.
On a postcard day at Harbour Town Golf Links, scoring was much better than in a blustery opening round. Of the top 23 players on the leaderboard, only three failed to break par.
Michael Bradley had the day’s best score with a 64 in the afternoon wave to move into a five-way tie for seventh at 4 under. Several others had similar scores.
Carl Pettersson, who is alone in second, carded a 65. Boo Weekley, who won here in 2007 and 2008, shot 66. So did Robert Garrigus, who is tied for fifth.
Other notables in contention entering the weekend include defending champion Brandt Snedeker, who is 4 under after a 67 Friday, Zach Johnson and Bud Cauley, both of whom are 3 under.
Another stroke back at 2 under is Tim Clark, who is making just his sixth start of the year after recovering from wrist surgery last season.
Plenty of big names also missed the cut, however, including Ernie Els, who triple-bogeyed the 18th hole to miss by three. Others headed home early include Padraig Harrington, Henrik Stenson, david Duval and Rickie Fowler.
Following his second-round 66, Colt Knost talks about his play with Bob Stevens from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- When Colt Knost sank his final putt at q-school last December, he walked off the golf course thinking he’d missed out on a PGA TOUR card and broke down in tears.
The only problem was he didn’t. Knost finished on the number and had secured his playing privileges for this season.
“My caddie said, ‘This is going to make you better’ and I feel like it has,” Knost said of the grueling six-round experience. “I’m stronger mentally now. I’m happy with how my game is and I’m happy with how I’m progressing.”
It’s shown through two rounds at Harbour Town, where Knost shot 67-66 through to get to 9 under and the lead heading into the weekend at the RBC Heritage.
With schedule changes that will eliminate the chance of a player reaching the TOUR via q-school set to take place in 2013, Knost’s emotional story will be one of the last to come out of q-school. Once the changes take effect, players coming out of q-school will earn Nationwide Tour status only.
“I have mixed emotions about it,” he said. “I like the fact that a guy can go from nothing to being on the PGA TOUR, in my opinion.”
Knost said he understands the challenges the TOUR is faced with -- “they know what they’re doing,” he said -- and he also felt the Nationwide Tour was the best place for him last year. Yet he couldn’t help but feel a little bittersweet about it.
“I think it's kind of sad that a guy can't go -- like Tommy Gainey went from kind of a nothing to being out there,” said Knost, who had to go through the second stage of q-school before advancing to the finals. “I felt like a lot of the young guys that are really stand-out amateurs are going to turn pro this year because it's their last chance to get out there. Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth, I wouldn't be surprised if they're done with q‑school.”
For now, though, Knost is hoping his q-school experience pays off.
“A win is obviously my goal, but there’s a long way to go,” Knost said. “I like my chances, and I love the way I'm playing right now.”
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Harbour Town has always been one of the toughest tests on the PGA TOUR. It showed in spades on Thursday.
With blustery conditions for most of the day, only 23 players broke par on the 7,100-yard par-71 layout and no one went lower than 4 under. Colt Knost joined Chad Campbell and Vaughn Taylor at that number after birdies on two of his final three holes.
Jim Furyk, who won here two years ago, is a shot back after a 68.
“The weatherman was spot on; it was chilly, quite breezy and gusty this morning,” Furyk said. “I’m happy to get in with the score I did. I thought anything at even par or better would be a good round this morning.”
It turned out there weren’t too many scores under par in the afternoon, either.
The temperature rose and the wind lessened as the day wore on, but it again got chilly late in the round.
Firm greens also contributed to high scores.
“The greens are stressed right now,” Furyk said. “They looked dusty [on Wednesday]. I was quite taken aback. It did look like a late Sunday afternoon.”
It played like it, too.
Harbour Town played to an average score of 72.95, nearly a full two strokes under par. The par-3 14th played as the most difficult hole with an average of nearly 3.5.
“It’s very difficult,” said Taylor, who eagled his final hole of the day, the par-4 ninth, by holing out from 100 yards with a sand wedge. Taylor has twice finished fourth here and is in the field on a sponsor exemption. “You’ve just got to kind of grind it out. I fortunately did a good job of that.”
So did John Daly, who finished with a 69.
Others weren’t so fortunate.
Luke Donald struggled with his putting and shot 74.
Should Donald finish outside the top 8 here, he would lose his spot atop the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s tied for 103rd after the first round.
Brian Gay, who was 20 under in his victory here in 2009, also shot 74.
Fred Funk and Sang-Moon Bae failed to break 80, shooting 81 and 83, respectively. Bae later withdrew with a shoulder injury.
On the driving range at last week’s Frys.com Open, Colt Knost tested Callaway Golf’s first fully adjustable driver, the RAZR FIT.
Competitors like TaylorMade and Titleist have already released fully adjustable drivers, but Callaway hopes to prove that being first is not always best.
Like the latest Titleist and TaylorMade offerings, the RAZR FIT includes an interchangeable shaft connection, as well as an adjustable hosel that allows golfers to set the face angle as either opened, square or closed. It also features two moveable weight ports that can be changed to either neutral and draw settings.
The driver’s modest grey crown masks Callaway’s Forged Composite Technology, a material that is lighter and stronger than titanium and allows for better weight optimization in the 440cc clubhead.
Forged Composite Technology is a staple of Callaway’s 2011 RAZR HAWK driver that has been a hit among Callaway staff members like Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els.
Photos indicated that Knost was testing a 10.5 degree model, with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI shaft. (Click here for more pictures and discussion.)
The RAZR FIT driver is part of Callaway’s 2012 lineup that will include RAZR FIT fairway woods. It will be available in 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 11.5 degree lofts, and is expected to retail for $399 with a 45.5 inch Aldila RIP NV Shaft. – Zak Kozuchowski, GolfWRX Staff Writer