May 26 2012
QUICK RECAP: THIRD ROUND
FORT WORTH -- Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson separated themselves from the pack during Saturday's third round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Unless things go horribly wrong for both players on Sunday, one will become the next champion at Colonial.
Dufner's 4-under 66 puts him at 15 under, one stroke ahead of Johnson, who shot a 65. The next closest player is Tom Gillis at 7 under, meaning Dufner and Johnson will essentially be in match play for the final 18 holes.
Dufner has now held or shared the lead for the 11th time this season. If he wins Sunday, he would become the first player in PGA TOUR history to win both North Texas events in consecutive weeks. Last week, he won the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Dufner started the day with a two-stroke lead over Johnson and it became apparent early that the tournament would be a two-man race. Johnson caught Dufner at various points on Saturday, and Dufner even extended his lead to three strokes on occasion.
But some rare loose shots coming in cost Dufner a couple of strokes while Johnson posted birdies at the 16th and 17th holes to close the gap.
Johnson, the 2010 champ at Colonial, now has posted 15 consecutive sub-par rounds at Colonial. He needed just eight putts in his first nine holes and 23 putts for the day.
LIVE UPDATES: THIRD ROUND (all times ET)
5:44 p.m. – Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson are done with their third rounds, both parring the 18th hole. Dufner’s 4-under 66 leaves him at 15 under for the tournament and the 54-hole leader. Johnson’s 5-under 65 puts him one stroke behind. The next closest player is Tom Gillis, who is eight shots off the lead.
5:26 p.m. – Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson both birdie the par-4 17th from nearly the same spot, 8-1/2 feet from the hole. Johnson’s approach shot landed next to Dufner’s ball on the green and nudged it slightly, with Dufner allowed to put the ball back in its original spot. Dufner is back to 15 under, Johnson at 14 under.
5:20 p.m. – Rickie Fowler salvaged a so-so day with a couple of late birdies to shoot even-par 70 – his 15th consecutive round at par or better on TOUR, the longest active streak. Fowler is 4 under for the tournament. Playing partner Harris English started well but suffered a triple bogey at the par-4 15th to finish with a 73, 2 under for the tournament.
5:15 p.m. – Key two-shot swing at the par-3 16th. Jason Dufner bogeyed after missing the green with his tee shot and failing to save par from 7-1/2 feet. Meanwhile, Zach Johnson rolled in a birdie putt of 16 feet, 9 inches. Dufner now leads by just one shot.
4:58 – Jason Dufner’s consecutive par-or-better streak has ended at 38 holes, as he bogeyed the par-4 14th, which is playing as the most difficult hole on the course Saturday. Dufner missed his par-saving putt from 6 feet after having to chip onto the green following an errant approach shot. That drops him to 15 under – but he still has a three-shot lead, as playing partner Zach Johnson also bogeyed with a three-putt. It’s the first three-putt Johnson has suffered this week and ends his three-putt avoidance streak at 52 holes.
4:35 p.m. – Jim Furyk birdied the 18th hole and has moved inside the top 10 of the leaderboard at 4 under. Furyk’s 68 on Saturday included 15 of 18 greens in regulation. He’s hit 81.5 percent of his greens this week, tops in the field.
4:30 p.m. – Good note from CBS: At the start of the day, 10 players were within seven shots of Jason Dufner’s lead. Now just one player is – Zach Johnson, who’s three back.
4:25 p.m. – Make it three straight birdies for Jason Dufner. Another great approach shot at the par-4 12th left him with a 4-foot putt. He’s now 16 under, three shots clear of Zach Johnson. By the way, Johnson holds the Colonial 72-hole record at 21 under. Kenny Perry has the 54-hole record at 18 under.
4:11 p.m. – Jason Dufner with another birdie, this one at the par-5 11th. After laying up with his second shot, he hit a wedge shot for 108 yards to within 4-1/2 feet. After Zach Johnson missed his 6-foot putt on a similar line, Dufner rolled his in to move to 15 under, two shots ahead of Johnson and at least seven shots ahead of everyone else. Dufner has now gone 36 holes without a bogey.
4 p.m. – Solid 3-under 67 for PLAYERS champ Matt Kuchar, who hit 15 of 18 greens and was perfect in two sand-save opportunities. Kuchar is 2 under for the tournament.
3:50 p.m. – Jason Dufner’s now at 14 under and regains the solo lead after rolling in a birdie putt from 19 feet, 10 inches at the par-4 10th. That puts him at 14 under. Meanwhile, Zach Johnson recorded his first two-putt of the day and remains at 13 under.
3:37 p.m. – Interesting note about Zach Johnson – he needed just eight putts in his first nine holes Saturday. He one-putt eight greens and holed out from the fringe for birdie at the second. His prowess on the greens allowed him to shoot 4 under through the first nine holes despite missing six of nine greens.
3:36 p,m. – The final twosome has made the turn, and it’s a tie for the lead. Zach Johnson rolled in a putt of 26-1/2 feet for birdie at the ninth hole after a terrific approach shot from the rough. Meanwhile, Jason Dufner saw his birdie attempt from 15 feet come up short. That leaves both players at 13 under for the tournament, five shots clear of the rest of the field. By the way, Dufner has now gone 34 straight holes without a bogey.
3:30 p.m. – Bo Van Pelt has made the turn at 1 under for his round and 8 under for the tournament. Van Pelt has not made a putt longer than 12 feet in his first 45 holes this week.
3:16 p.m. – Jason Dufner has regained the solo lead with a 17-foot birdie putt at the par-4 seventh. He’s now at 13 under, one ahead of playing partner Zach Johsnon.
3 p.m. – Kelly Kraft on his 6-under 64: “I started out and made a bunker shot on one for eagle. Then the putter started rolling and it seemed like everything went in.”
2:55 p.m. – Zach Johnson has birdied No. 5 to reach 12 under to tie Jason Dufner atop the leaderboard at Colonial. Johnson's ball-striking hasn't been great today; he's hit just two of five greens. But he converted birdies on both greens he did hit and added a chip-in for birdie on No. 2.
2:43 p.m. – Rookie John Huh is 4 under through his first eight holes and has moved into a tie for third at 8 under. Huh has suffered just two bogeys thus far this week, fewest in the field.
2:40 p.m. – FedExCup champ Bill Haas shot even-par 70 on Saturday. Since winning the Northern Trust Open in a playoff in mid-February, Haas has played 23 rounds in stroke-play events, and has only broken 70 one time (a first-round 68 at THE PLAYERS Championship). This week at Colonial, he’s shot 72-71-70 and is 3 over for the tournament.
2:30 p.m. – Scoring conditions seem to be good on Saturday. With about half of the field having finished their third rounds, the scoring average is currently 70.205. That’s more than a stroke better than Friday’s second-round average (71.295) and more than a half-stroke better than Thursday’s first-round average (70.919).
1:57 p.m. – Corey Pavin is a machine at Colonial. The two-time champ, who’s now a regular on the Champions Tour, carded a 3-under 67 that leaves him at 2 under for the tournament. For Pavin, it’s his 11th round in the 60s in his last 15 rounds at Colonial.
1:50 p.m. – 36-hole leader Jason Dufner has birdied the first three holes at Colonial in each of his first two rounds this week. “I feel pretty good on that starting stretch,” Dufner said. “I would assume that 1 and 2 are probably some of the easier scoring holes on the golf course, so they kind of give you that chance to maybe pick up one or two birdies early. That third hole is really tough but I’ve been fortunate to be in the fairway on both occasions and have a perfect number.” Dufner will try to keep the streak going, as he has just teed off to start his third round. Click here to follow Dufner’s third round
1:20 p.m. – One reason Jason Dufner has a two-shot lead going into Saturday? His iron play. No player in the field this week has been hitting approach shots closer to the pin this week than Dufner, whose proximity to the hole average is 23 feet, 9 inches. That’s 3 feet closer than the next best player (Bo Van Pelt) and 13 feet closer than the field average. Dufner and playing partner Zach Johnson tee off in the final twosome in 30 minutes.
1:10 p.m. – In his first 16 holes at Colonial this week, Louis Oosthuizen carded three bogeys and no birdies. Since then, he’s a bogey-free 8 under in his last 23 holes. Oosthuizen, the Masters runner-up, has started Saturday with three consecutive birdies and is now 5 under for the tournament. Click here to follow the rest of Oosthuizen’s round
1:05 p.m. – PLAYERS champ Matt Kuchar is moving up the leaderboard. He’s a bogey-free 4 under through his first 12 holes and is now 3 under for the tournament. Kuchar, by the way, is paired with Kevin Na on Saturday; those two were paired together in the final round at TPC Sawgrass. Na is even through 12 holes and 1 over for the tournament.
1 p.m. – Rickie Fowler, who tees off in 20 minutes, has shot par or better in his last seven rounds on the weekend. At 4 under and seven strokes off the lead held by Jason Dufner, he’ll need to make a serious move today. “He’s firing at sticks out there and hitting a lot of good putts,” Fowler said of Dufner. “I’ve just got to go out and try and do the same thing and see if we can chase him down.”
12:50 p.m. – Kelly Kraft, the 2011 U.S. Amateur champ who turned pro this year after the Masters, has the low round of the early finishers. He shot a 6-under 64 and is now at 4 under for the tournament. That puts him inside the top 10 of the leaderboard at the moment. Kraft grew up in the North Texas area and went to school at SMU, but has missed the cut in his only two professional starts, in San Antonio and Dallas.