May 8 2011
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Pat Perez has it all figured out.
“It’s going to take a number,” he said as he contemplated Sunday's final round of the Wells Fargo Championship. "It'll take a number for everybody tomorrow. ...
"Guys do it all the time. Guys come out and shoot 65, 66 on Sunday and they move way up the board.”
Perez will be looking for that number as he plays in the final group with Jonathan Byrd, who leads by one at 15 under. There are nine players within six strokes of the South Carolinian's lead and another five at 8 under.
And you have to look no further than a year ago when Rory McIlroy shot 62 to erase a four-stroke deficit to know that strange things can happen on Sunday at Quail Hollow. Just ask Vijay Singh, who made up a six-stroke deficit when he won in 2005.
"You never know, you get a guy in the morning that tees off and he's 7 under and he shoots 8 under tomorrow,” Perez said. "... You've got to keep your foot on the gas, and it's not going to be play for pars and stuff like that tomorrow. But I'm more than comfortable being one back."
Byrd is playing extremely well, though. He's one of three players -- Lucas Glover and Kevin Na are the others -- who has a chance to become the first player in the history of the tournament to post all four rounds in the 60s.
Byrd, who closed with a 31 and shot 67 Saturday, is also looking to become the third player on TOUR to win twice in 2011. In fact, he is trying to win for the third time in his last 12 starts dating back to last year's Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open -- a tournament he won in a playoff with a walk-off ace.
Byrd, who ranks 18th in the FedExCup, is a different player as he contemplates Sunday's final round, though. In Las Vegas last year, the former Clemson standout ranked 117th on the money list and he was just trying to keep his card.
The difference now? Byrd says it's confidence -- maybe some maturity, too. Not to mention, a steady putter from inside 10 feet.
"It's just kind of like I was searching to get my game going then before that win in Vegas, and now I'm just trying to just go play, knowing that everything is pretty good," Byrd explained. "I'm not resting on what I've done already, but it has made things easier just to go play golf and not work on things as much."
Glover, who is tied for third with Stewart Cink, three strokes behind his college teammate, knows Byrd is playing well.
"Somebody is going to have to get off to a good start," he said. "Jonathan is a great front runner. He's playing so well. I played with him Tuesday and saw him at home the last couple weeks. He's playing great.
"It's going to take a good start and a low round because he's playing well enough to where he could shoot in the 60s again tomorrow and blow everybody away. But we'll see. You know, I've got to get off to a good start and just take care of my stuff."