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August 4 2012

10:30 PM

Third-round observations

By Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent

Speedy: Wind swept over the Firestone on Saturday, turning fairways and greens into an ice rink. Golf balls raced down the course and the greens were rolling in excess of 13 on the Stimpmeter. Bubba Watson hit a 442-yard drive on the 648-yard 16 th hole. Louis Oosthuizen hit 6-iron into the 16th green. The added distance was not always a good thing. Several balls rolled through the fairways into the rough, making the course play very difficult.

Moving time: Tiger Woods shot 2 under and moved up 20 spots on the leaderboard. He is 24 th entering the final round. Woods said he found something in his stroke on the 17 th hole of Friday’s round to improve his putting. Did it help? He took 33 strokes on the green in the opening round, 29 on Friday and 31 putts in the third round. That Saturday total is deceptive since Woods hit 15 greens. He is tied for fourth in greens in regulation this week, hitting 39 of 54 -- but has taken 93 putts to rank 71 st in the 75-man field.

Hole locations: The course was set up with generous hole locations for the third round. Only two holes were cut less than five paces from the edge of any green. Officials anticipated the winds, which dried out the greens and made the course very difficult.

Louis, Louis: Louis Oosthuizen says he enjoys the way the Firestone course looks off the tee. He must also like the greens. The 2011 British Open champion has taken 31, 25 and 26 putts through each of his first three rounds. He ranks 10th in strokes gained-putting this week.

Ball striking: A lot has gone right for Jim Furyk this week. He is first in fairways hit with 29 of 42. He is T7 in greens in regulation at 38 of 58. Still, Furyk could not run away from the field on Saturday because of his putter. He took 31 putts while hitting 13 greens. Furyk had just one birdie and one bogey to go with 16 pars.

Belly putter: I’m convinced it’s the fiddler and not the fiddle when it comes to Keegan Bradley. He has the purest stroke with the belly putter. Bradley hit just 10 greens on Saturday but took only 24 putts to shoot 67. He made a 21-footer on the 13 th hole and has holed 255 feet of putts in three rounds. From inside of 10 feet Bradley has made 47 of 50 putts this week.

Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.

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