By Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- There were eight cups that were cut less than 10 paces from the front of greens Saturday at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course. That made the golf course play very difficult. The greens were very firm and it was tough to spin the golf ball, so any shots landing on the green released to the back of the putting surface. Front hole locations yielded few birdies.
Black hole: The par-3 17 th hole yielded a grand total of one birdie the entire day. Those in the corporate chalets and gallery surrounding the green had to wait until the final group played through to applaud a chip-in birdie from Nick Watney. When 75 of the best golfers in the world play a 193-yard par 3 and convert just a single birdie, that’s a great indication of how difficult the hole is playing.
Three putts: Tiger Woods set a record on Saturday, and it was not a good one. He three-putted four times. That’s the first time in his professional career that Woods has endured four three-putts in a single round. Woods was not alone. There were 14 three-putts on the 18 th green alone. Anytime you have slick greens, you are going to have plenty of 4-foot par putts, and players struggled to make them.
Pace of play: TOUR officials asked the pairing of Watney and Garcia to increase their place of play on the 11 th green. The group had clearly fallen out of position with the group in front already on the 12 th green. Watney immediately picked up his pace of play and started making bogeys. He played the last eight holes in 3 over. Watney said he did get faster but did not think that contributed to his bogeys.
Ball striking: On a very difficult day to play golf, Garcia was in control of his game. The Spaniard hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens. Garcia leads this golf tournament because of his ball-striking.
Body language: Garcia has bogeyed the par-3 third hole every day this week. Saturday, he committed an unforced three-putt, yet he picked his ball out of the cup and smiled and then laughed with his caddie Wayne Richardson. Garcia’s body language was very good the entire day, meeting birdie and bogey with even comportment.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here .
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Sergio Garcia is 18 holes away from his second win on the PGA TOUR this week.
Garcia shot a 2-under 69 in Saturday's third round at The Barclays and will take a one-shot lead going into Sunday's final round of the FedExCup Playoffs opener.
On Monday, Garcia won the weather-delayed Wyndham Championship, his first win on the PGA TOUR in four years.
On Saturday, he survived a tough afternoon at the Bethpage State Park Black Course. Players with late tee times battled tough putting conditions. Tiger Woods suffered four three-putts, the most in any single round of his career, in shooting a 1-over 72.
“Some of the fastest greens I’ve ever played,” Garcia said.
Garcia is 10 under through 54 holes. His closest competitor is his 36-hole co-leader, Nick Watney, who shot even-par 71 and is two strokes back at 8 under.
Midway through the third round, Watney held a two-shot lead but suffered three bogeys in a five-hole stretch. He had moved with one stroke of Garcia’s lead after chipping in for birdie at the par-3 17th. It was the only birdie recorded on that hole in the third round.
But he bogeyed the 18th hole when his birdie putt hit the hole and rolled 11 feet past. He failed to make the comebacker.
“This course just kind of beats you up,” Watney said. “There’s no letdown.”
Garcia and Watney will be in Sunday’s final pairing for the second consecutive day.
In third place is Kevin Stadler, who finished his round of 6-under 65 hours before the leaders. Stadler is 7 under after starting the day 41st on the leaderboard.
Brandt Snedeker and Bob Estes are tied for fourth at 6 under.
Then comes a large group of players within two more strokes of the lead. That includes Woods and Phil Mickelson, who are each at 4 under.
Following an third-round 72, Tiger Woods reflects on his play in The Barclays 2012 with Mark Carnevale from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – It was a career record-setting day for Tiger Woods … and not in a good way. For the first time in his PGA TOUR career, he suffered four three-putts in one round. But he never panicked.
“Trust me, I was certainly frustrated,” Woods said. “I kept tell myself I'm right in the ballgame and no one was going anywhere. Nobody was running away with it.”
“You take those away,” Woods said about the three-putts ( see chart below), “and I’m right there in the ballgame.”
Ironically, on a day with all those three-putts, Woods did manage to roll in his longest putt of the year, from 53 feet, 1 inch for birdie at the eighth hole.
Woods was happy with his ball-striking, hitting 10 of 14 fairways and 12 of 18 greens, calling it a “beautiful round of golf.”
“Unfortunately didn’t clean up on the greens. I’ve never seen greens change like this, from they were yesterday to today. The grass even seems slippery. … It was unbelievable how fast they got.”
If Woods can solve the greens in Sunday’s final round, he might very well keep his lead atop the FedExCup standings. Points are quintupled in the FedExCup Playoffs, so the winner of The Barclays could very well move ahead of Woods, the Regular Season points leader.
"“This golf course lends itself to being bunched,” Woods said. “… At one point, I was; I was three back of the lead. Unfortunately I didn't stay there but hopefully tomorrow I can put it together. “
Here’s a look at his three-putts in Saturday’s third round
|Hole||Distance to pin of first putt||Hole||Distance to pin of first putt|
|Par-3 3rd||45 feet, 11 inches||Par-4 9th||31 feet, 7 inches|
|Par-4 6th||40 feet, 3 inches||Par-3 14th||15 feet, 9 inches|
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Not saying there's any correlation to the scores today, of course, but judging by their Twitter accounts it looks like Ian Poulter cooked dinner for Justin Rose and Adam Scott last night.
At 8:21 p.m. on Friday, Poulter tweeted (with the photo to the left): Spaghetti bolognaise is well under way for tonight's dinner. Even @JustinRose99 is coming over must smell good.
Saturday morning at 8:32, Rose countered with this tweet: Battle of the Bolognese today! Adam Scott, @IanJamesPoulter and myself had a good laugh last night. We're all are at -3. Who will fare best
Unfortunately, all three struggled Saturday. Scott shot 74 to move back to even par for the tournament while Poulter had a 76 and Rose shot 79.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Greg Chalmers hit all but one fairway in the first round. He missed just two fairways in the second round. As a result, he ended the first 36 holes at The Barclays as the tournament leader in driving accuracy.
"Never done that before," said the Australian, who now lives in Texas.
"I've been driving the ball beautifully all week," said Chalmers, who entered this week ranked 86th in driving accuracy on the PGA TOUR this year.
Chalmers is making his 308th career TOUR start this week, and he's still searching for his first win. He's been a runner-up twice, most recently at the 2009 Buick Open.
Known for his prowess with the putter, Chalmers is happy with the rest of his game and his chances in Sunday's final round.
"I'm thrilled with the position I'm in right now and I have to go out and play well tomorrow," Chalmers said. "I'm really excited about where things are going at the moment."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Brian Harman says he's playing with house money right now.
He's a rookie on the PGA TOUR and he made the FedExCup Playoffs in his first try. And the way Harman is playing this week at The Barclays, he's likely to stick around for another week, too.
Harman fired a 68 Saturday on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park to move into the top 10 at 6 under. He started the week ranked 97th in the FedExCup and was projected 51st when he finished the third round.
"I think it's awesome," Harman said. "... This golf course is unbelievable. It's going to be really interesting this afternoon if that wind gets picked up.
"I might actually go to the hotel room and watch it and try to get an idea of what it might be like tomorrow afternoon. It's an awesome venue and the fans are great and it's been a great experience so far."
Harman, who had opened with a 65, made four birdies, one eagle and two bogeys, one of which came at the 18th hole. He said he was surprised by the firmness of the greens on Friday when he shot 75 but got back to his game plan in the third round.
"I knew they were going to be firm today and just played accordingly," he said. "Had some things go my way, got off to a good start and got some momentum. Played really well and putted okay."
Harman, who came in three spots above the cutoff for next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, said that he's tried hard to keep his position in the FedExCup out of his mind. Not that it's easy, of course.
"I know that if I play this course the way that I can, that I'm going to be fine," Harman said. "And as long as I just worry about the things that I can control, that's all I can worry about."