By: Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
PALM HARBOR, Fla.—It was a great day to tee off before the leaders. The Copperhead Course was a little softer earlier in the day and good scores were possible. As the afternoon progressed, the greens got firmer and crusty. Luke Donald teed off at 10:45 and shot 67. Jim Furyk began play more than two hours before the leaders and posted 67. Kevin Streelman had an 11:03 start and leads the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank. With 20 players within four shots of the lead, the final round might be a great opportunity for someone to go out early and post a low number that could turn into a winning score.
Taking the fifth: It’s very rare for a par 5 to be the hardest hole on the golf course but it happened in the third round. The par-5 fifth hole, had a devilishly tough hole location. Some players had a less kind description. The hole was cut five paces onto the green and four from the right hand side. It sat right on top of a knoll that rejected shots. There were a total of five birdies for the entire day with 22 bogeys, four doubles and one “other.”
Fast: Every golfer has a sad story to tell but Jason Dufner can certainly attest to the speed of the greens. He had a six foot birdie putt on the 11th green to tie for the lead. Dufner sent that putt five feet past the cup and then missed the par attempt. A three putt from six feet. In a two minute span, he went from a possible tie for the lead to falling two shots off the pace.
Golf shot: Jordan Spieth called it one of the best shots he’s ever hit. Keep in mind he’s only 19 years old but still, the shot was impressive. Spieth missed his drive left at the 16th hole and was in a jungle of trees. His caddie tired to talk him into a lateral escape but youth is impetuous. From 169 yards, Spieth threaded a shot through a two-yard sliver of an opening, kept it under one tree and hooked it around another onto the green and made birdie.
Wind: The wind was less than 10 miles an hour throughout the day but came from a different direction. Players were accustomed to a breeze out of the north-northwest. On Saturday, the wind flipped around and blew out of the south. It changed the complexion of several holes and players had to adjust.
Snake bit: Holes 16-17-18 comprise the “Snake Pit” and they had plenty of bite on Saturday. They rank the first, fourth and third most difficult holes from the week. All of which makes Ben Kohles’ accomplishment so impressive. He has played the Snake Pitin 2-under, recording four birdies and two bogeys.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.