By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
Troy Matteson got an assist from
the CBS eye in the sky on the 14th.
-- Steve Stricker has a chance. A chance to win his fourth
straight John Deere Classic but to do so he must improve his
scoring on the first nine holes. Stricker has played the front nine
in 3 under while he is a cumulative 12 under on the final nine
holes this week. Compare Stricker’s score on the first nine
holes that of Troy Matteson, who is 10 under on the front nine, and
you can understand why Stricker must have a quicker start to his
It did not take long for golfers to
find out the speed of the greens had changed for the third round.
Off line birdie putts went zooming by the cup on the first two
holes because the greens were at least a foot faster on Saturday.
Players made a quick adjustment, but there were some strange looks
on the first two holes.
Brian Harmon took off his shoes and
socks and waded into the water hazard on the second hole. He had
gone for the par five in two and his approach leaked to the left.
Without the benefit of shoes or socks, Harmon chipped to within 12
feet but missed the birdie putt. He was disappointed with the par
but also relieved he avoided any water moccasins which may have
lurked in the hazard.
J.J. Henry had his pre-round
practice routine interrupted by an equipment failure. He broke a
shoelace. Henry had to hurry to the clubhouse for a new shoestring
but did not fully complete his normal putting practice. It may have
hurt Henry, who finished the round with 31 putts, his most strokes
of the week.
I think it’s one of the harder
things to do in all of sports. Win a golf tournament when leading
from start to finish. That’s what Troy Matteson will try to
do on Sunday. He will have to overcome an awkward statistical trend
to post the victory. Matteson is ranked 118th on TOUR with a
fourth-round scoring average of 72. He is also 170th on TOUR in
final-round putting average. Matteson takes an average of 30.33
putts in the final round.
Anyone who wins a golf tournament has
some good fortune and Troy Matteson had his share of luck in the
third round. He hold a 28 foot putt on the 10th green, then used a
putter from off the green at the 13
hole to chip in a 36 foot birdie. The biggest break
may have come from the CBS blimp. When Matteson hit is drive into
knee high grass on the 14th hole, the CBS camera was able to locate
the ball from high above in the blimp.
Matteson combined good fortune with good
putting. For the week, he is second in strokes gained - putting.
Matteson has holed 296 feet of putts during the tournament and has
made 44 of 48 putts measuring 10 feet or less.
Billy Horschel got his work done
quickly and efficiently Saturday morning. He played as a single and
took 2 hours 40 minutes to polish off a 6 under 65 to move 10 under
for the tournament. Horschel said he would have played quicker, but
he scouted the hole locations for Sunday’s final round.
Steve Stricker had 273 yards for his
second shot into the par-5 17th and used a utility wood. The shot
came up just short but Stricker still made birdie and credited the
phenomenal distance to the hot weather. I credit the newfound
strength to his training regimen of Wisconsin bratwurst.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
and is inside the ropes this week at the John Deere Classic. For
more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio,