March 11 2012
DORAL, Fla. -- Here is a look at some interesting side notes from Saturday’s third round:
· This is the sixth time that Bubba Watson has had at least a share of the lead entering the final round. He has won only one of the previous five -- the 2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where he beat Webb Simpson in a playoff. Also, Watson has made birdie or better 17 times over the last two rounds. That ties a personal best for Watson over any two-round stretch on the PGA TOUR. He also had 17 birdies/eagles over the second and third rounds at the 2007 Shell Houston Open.
· Rory McIlroy front-nine 30 Saturday tied the best score of his career on either the front or back nine at any TOUR event. Even more impressive was that McIlroy didn’t birdie either of the par-5s on the front nine. The last player to shoot 6 under or lower for nine holes without a birdie on a par-5 was Katsumasa Miyamoto at the 2010 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
· Hunter Mahan made big move up the leaderboard with a third-round 66. Mahan’s day included eight birdies, which was two more than his first two rounds combined (six). It was the second time that Mahan has had at least two more birdies in the third round than he had over the first two. Mahan is tied for 18th 10 shots off the lead.
· Tiger Woods finished the third round tied for eighth. It was the second time this year that Woods has finished the third round in the top 10 -- the other coming at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. In the previous two years combined, Woods entered the final round in the top 10 only three times. By comparison, in 2009 alone, Woods entered the final round inside the top 10 a dozen times.