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April 6 2013

7:47 PM

Albers' Saturday observations


Texans like Bob Estes (pictured) and Ryan Palmer found success Saturday in San Antonio. (Cohen/Getty Images)

By: Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent

SAN ANTONIO -- Golf is a game of momentum. So much so, the PGA TOUR has a special “bounceback” statistic. It tracks a player’s ability to make a birdie or better following a bogey or worse. Billy Horschel has made seven bogeys this week and has followed up five of them with birdies. That’s remarkable. It’s enabled Horschel to keep building momentum and confidence during rounds.

This week has been special for the Florida graduate. On the season, Horschel successfully bounces back only 20 percent of the time. To give you an idea of how hard it is to make a birdie following a bogey, Steve Stricker leads the TOUR at 47 percent. Horschel is at 71 percent this week. It helps that Horschel also leads the tournament in strokes gained-putting.

Observations:

In touch: Jim Furyk’s six-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole was important enough for him to deliver a fist pump. It’s not that Furyk never makes six-footers and it’s not the fact he shot 69. Furyk’s birdie on the final hole ensured he would play in the final group, going head-to-head with Billy Horschel. Furyk begins the final round with lots of experience and just two shots separating him from the leader.

Close: You can tell Rory McIlory is close to playing very well but he continues to lose shots during the round. He laid up into a bunker at the par-5 second hole and drove into the rough at the eighth. Both shots led to pars. McIlroy three-putted for bogey at both 10 and 11, then hit a bad wedge into the 17th and had a bad bunker shot on the final hole. Those are six shots that could have led to six birdies with better execution. Every player hits bad shots and gets bad break during a round of golf, but McIlroy is still losing too many shots during a round.

Hard hole: The 13th hole was mean par 3 on Saturday. It was set up at 228 yards and did not yield a single birdie. There were 82 players who came through, resulting in 43 pars, 37 bogeys and two doubles. When the best players in the world cannot make a single birdie, it’s a hard hole. It played a half shot over par and was the second hardest hole on the golf course.

Texans: Bob Estes and Ryan Palmer are Texans and accustomed to playing in the wind. Estes is from Austin, while Palmer is from the plains of Amarillo. Both felt comfortable on the course during Saturday’s gales. Palmer shot a bogey-free 68, while Estes carded a 69. Estes says modern equipment creates a higher ball flight and it takes practice to control the lower trajectory needed in the wind.

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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