Tim Clark leads the field in strokes gained-putting at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Cololnial.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Matt Kuchar showed his usual patience on the golf course and it paid off with a third-round score of 69 at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial on Saturday.
Kuchar made back-to-back bogeys on the seventh and eighth holes but never panicked. On the par-3 13th hole, his tee shot sailed long into a back bunker. From a downhill, side-hill lie, Kuchar hit it 3 feet, right below the cup and made par. It was the shot of the day. Kuchar has so much confidence; he can afford to play with patience. When he hits a bad shot, he has the confidence he can reclaim that lost stroke. That takes both patience and ability, and Kuchar has both in abundance.
If someone needs to make a 21-foot putt on the final hole, I’m betting on John Rollins. He made a 21-footer on the 18th hole on Thursday and did it again on Saturday. Rollins also made a 29-footer on the 17th hole and had 99 feet worth of putts in the third round.
Forecast: PGA TOUR officials were not optimistic on Saturday morning. A line of storms was moving up from Austin and Fort Worth was in a direct path. The rain and lightning were due to arrive at noon with several smaller storms to follow. A couple brief showers were all that developed. The forecast for Sunday calls for high humidity, sunny skies and wind. Nothing separates a tightly bunched leaderboard like a windy day.
Big hitter: Just looking at Graham DeLaet, you would never guess he is a long hitter. The Canadian measures 5-foot-11 and is a slim 165 pounds. It is all muscle. DeLaet cranked a 347-yard drive on the 11th hole and then reached the par 5 in two with a second from 266 yards leading to birdie. Those numbers are not flukes. DeLaet leads the tournament in driving distance at 311 yards and is ranked eighth on TOUR this year with a 301-yard average.
Texans: The leaderboard is full of Texans. From Chris Stroud to Martin Flores to Rollins, there are several local players with a chance to win. Ryan Palmer and Jordan Spieth got the early attention but Flores was born in Fort Worth and still lives in the area. You could easily tell where he was located on the golf course from the size of the gallery and the roar of his fans. Flores’ fans have had plenty to cheer. He has missed 19 greens and saved par 16 times.
Inconsistent: Spieth is so scary good, he is slated for superstardom, but we also tend to forget he is just 19. The teenager shows flashes of brilliance and then fails to maintain the momentum. His round on Saturday included five birdies but was offset with four bogeys and a double. Spieth is in the process of learning to channel his emotions in order to play with a level of calmness. He has so much talent, it will be a very quick learning curve and Spieth might win this year as a teenager.
Putting: Tim Clark is having a good week on and around the greens. He has putting rounds of 27-28-23 and is No. 1 in strokes gained putting this week. Clark’s short game has also sparkled. He is 6-for-7 in bunker saves and is ranked third in scrambling. Clark has missed 21 greens this week but has saved par on 17 of those misses.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here