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July 15 2012

12:09 AM

Notes from inside the ropes

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Troy Matteson got an assist from the CBS eye in the sky on the 14th.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent SILVIS, Ill. --  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 round Sunday. Green Speed: 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. Shoeless: 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. Equipment repair: 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. Final round: 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. Momentum: 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 th 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. Stat pac: 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. Quick play: 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. Utility wood: 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, click here.
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