By David McPherson, Special to the PGATOUR.COM
OAKVILLE, Ontario -- A moody Mother Nature, the overnight leader withdrawing, and players going low sums up the third round at the RBC Canadian Open.
After blessing Glen Abbey with perfect weather all week, Mother Nature changed her tune midway through the third round. A storm front rumbled through the area shortly after lunch, causing the tournament’s first weather delay.
The delay meant nothing to the overnight leader Hunter Mahan. He never teed off. The 31-year-old was on the driving range warming up, before the weather hit, when he received a call that his wife had gone into early labor. In a flash, he left the course, and jumped on a plane back to Dallas, Texas, to join his spouse.
Suddenly, the lead had narrowed by a couple of shots. And, with optimal scoring conditions after steady rainfall that softened the greens, players took advantage of this twist of fate.
Dustin Johnson struck first. He posted a 9-under 63 to get the early clubhouse lead at 11 under. The 29-year-old birdied the last three holes yesterday to make the cut and carried that momentum into his round today. Johnson sits T5 heading into tomorrow’s final round. Once again, he took advantage of Glen Abbey’s scoreable finishing three holes -- making birdie on 16 and an eagle on 18.
“Today I really didn’t make any mistakes,” Johnson said. “I hit it good all day long, hit it close, had a lot of birdie looks, and rolled a few putts in.”
Speaking of rolling a few putts in, that’s what Brandt Snedeker did in the afternoon -- taking only 25. With this hot putter (he said he’s had in his bag for seven years now) combined with some stellar wedge play, he matched Johnson’s 63 to take the lead heading into the final round.
“Today was obviously a great day,” Snedeker said. “I knew I was playing really well after yesterday and just kind of got some bad breaks during one stretch yesterday and went out there today and hit a lot of quality shots, gave myself a lot of good looks at birdies and obviously made a bunch of putts. When you do that, you're going to shoot a low score, and I was able to do that.”
Other players who took advantage of the softer conditions Saturday, included Matt Kuchar, who shot 64, David Lingmerth with a 65, a half-dozen other players shot 6-under 66s.
“You deal with all the elements that rain brings, but the rain also softens up the golf course, makes fairways play wider and the greens more receptive,” said Kuchar. “There were certainly a lot of opportunities for birdies. It seems like when the rain goes away, things calm down and the course gets really attackable.”