April 14 2012
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.