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October 19 2013

8:48 PM

Saturday observations from Las Vegas

Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
William McGirt has his own unique way of playing the drivable par-4 15th hole.

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

LAS VEGAS -- The leaders arrived the TPC Summerlin and saw lots of red numbers from the early starters. Sean O’Hair carded a 63. William McGirt and Jimmy Walker went out in the morning wave and came home with 64s.

Those kinds of numbers were not shot in the afternoon.

The greens at TPC Summerlin got a little bumpy, a little spiked. The putting surfaces are receptive and with lots of foot traffic, they become marked in the late afternoon. Meanwhile, many hole locations were encased in shadows, making it difficult to read breaks.

Golfers became frustrated, as birdies were hard to make. It was extremely important for players to maintain their patience on Saturday.

Observations

Strategy: William McGirt has a problem at the 15th hole. It’s a 300-yard par 4 but McGirt can’t carry his drive to the top of the hill, so he plays the hole differently from most in the field. McGirt hits an iron approximately 190 yards off the tee and then wedge into the green. It’s not the flashiest or boldest of plays but it is effective. McGirt hit a 97-yard wedge to 17 feet and made birdie at the 15th hole. That’s the strategy he used all three rounds and has played the hole in 2 under.

Star power: Jimmy Walker is an amateur astronomer who travels with photographic equipment to capture stars while visiting different sections of the country. He was interested in this week’s lunar eclipse and will travel with several cameras when he plays in Asia next week. Walker was a star on the golf course during the third round. He bogeyed the second hole, then ripped off seven birdies for a 64 and is T15 going into the final round.

Bounce back: One of the underrated stats on the PGA TOUR is the “bounce back” category. It measures a player’s ability to follow up a bogey with a birdie or better. On Saturday, Webb Simpson made two bogeys and followed each up with birdies. He has bounced back successfully on two of three occasions this week. Golf is a game of momentum and Simpson’s ability to rally with birdies following mistakes, is a key reason why he leads the tournament.

Wishes: Chesson Hadley left the golf course on Friday hoping to shoot a low number on Saturday so he could play the final round with his childhood friend, Webb Simpson. Wish granted. Thanks to a third-round 67, the PGA TOUR rookie will play with the U.S. Open champion in the final group. Hadley says he’ll be happy leaving the course on Sunday, no matter his final score. His wife Amanda is about to deliver their first child and Chesson says life is good, no matter where he places in the final round.

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

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