By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
Zach Johnson was nearly flawless on
the front nine in Round 3.
Texas — Zach Johnson is in contention because of the way he
played his first nine holes in the third round at Colonial. He hit
four fairways, three greens and took eight putts in shooting 31.
Johnson one-putted every green with the exception of the second
hole, where he chipped in for birdie. He leads the tournament in
fewest putts, taking 76 strokes for 54 holes.
Jason Dufner has played brilliantly.
He's fourth in fairways in regulation, fourth in greens in
regulation and fourth in total putts. Even with those numbers, a
golfer can always use some good luck. At the 12th hole, Dufner
drove into the left fairway bunker and the ball ran through the
sand, took a strange hop and funneled into the middle of the
fairway. He made birdie.
Tournament officials were not happy
with the bunkers following the 2011 competition, so they changed
the consistency of the sand. Players have raved about the change,
getting up and down at a rate of 57.44 percent. Matt Kuchar is 9
for 9 in sand saves this week. There is more sand in the bunkers
and that leads to the occasional plugged lie, but players are able
to get up and down at a remarkable rate.
Tournament officials gave the field a
different look on par 3s for the third round. The tee was moved up
at the fourth, eighth and 16th holes, while the extreme right tee
box was used at the 13th. Even with the change, the fourth hole
still gave up just nine birdies on Saturday and ranks as the sixth
most difficult hole of the week.
How did Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson
spend Friday night, preparing for their grouping on Saturday?
Dufner threw out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers game, a
delivery he described as a "high strike off a changeup." Meanwhile,
Johnson played LEGOs with his kids. Golf was not discussed.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
and inside the ropes this week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at
Colonial. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio,