By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AVONDALE, La. -- Bubba Watson was talking like a new man after the third round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
A little sleep and a round of 65 will do that for you. In fact, the reigning Masters champion, a man who had talked all week about how mentally drained he was in the aftermath of that win two weeks ago at Augusta National, had a noticeable enthusiasm in his voice again.
In fact, the defending champion of the Zurich Classic was even talking about trying to make a run at the title on Sunday. Granted, he's 9 under and eight strokes behind Jason Dufner, but he's got positive vibes at TPC Louisiana.
"(I) basically kicked myself in the butt, you know, said, 'Look if you're going to come out here you better come out here to win,'" Watson said. "I made the cut on the number. Knew if I could shoot something under par the next 2 days it would be respectable. Got a lot lower than I really was hoping for. …
"I'm still in it. I shoot another low one (Sunday), I could get the lead again."
Watson, who played the par 5s in 5 under on Saturday and 10 under for the week, said he's slept about 20 hours in the last two days. His focus has improved and it showed on the course, as he made seven birdies -- including four straight to start the round -- and an eagle while dropping just one shot to par when he found the water at No. 17, which was his eighth hole of the day.
"Made a lot of good putts and swings," Watson said. "Hit a lot of greens today. Made some putts. Turned out to a low score. ... So long as I don't choke tomorrow, I should have a good shot at it."