The Starter: Round 3, Open

October 15, 2010
PGA TOUR staff

The third round of the Open is set to begin Saturday. Here's a preview:

Groups we're watching:
Tee time Players  
1:38 p.m. ET
No. 1
Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler, Bo Van Pelt
The winner Sunday could be out of this strong group with the '09 PLAYERS champ and two stars in the making.
1:49 p.m. ET
No. 1
David Duval, Tim Herron, Will MacKenzie
MacKenzie, on striving to get into the top 125, joins two players looking strong in comeback bids.
2 p.m. ET
No. 1
Rocco Mediate, Ryuji Imada, Dean Wilson
Mediate has cruised to a three-shot lead. Will Imada or Wilson, both with a TOUR win in their careers, catch him Saturday?

EXPERT PREVIEW: PGA TOUR Network on-site correspondent Brett Wright previews Saturday's action:

The CordeValle Golf Club is showing some toughening conditions here in the third round. Some wind blew on Friday and the consistent bright sunshine produced heat that forced the greens crew to syringe the greens with water between groupings in the second round. The greens are becoming firmer and are rolling faster as we go into the weekend. The weather forecast is for a high of 78 with more sunshine and low winds today.

Saturday's forecast

Temp: 78 high/50 low
Chance of precipitation 10 percent. Winds from W around 8 mph.

There are many good birdie opportunities on this layout, but Dean Wilson pointed out to me that "there are plenty of places to find trouble here" also. I asked Wilson about scoreboard-watching when he played well on Friday and he told me that in Round 2 everyone knew what Mediate was doing in his round: "Yeah, they have pretty good signage out there and I saw a scoreboard about No. 13 and I was 8-under par then and I see that Rocoo is 14-under par and I realize that I am six shots back, I just think I need to make some more birdies and try to close the gap."

Charlie Wi, who is great with his wedge game, sees this golf course as fairly straightforward with many opportunities, but that players need to be careful because trouble is always looming just off the fairway. The rough continues to swallow stray shots, as J.B. Holmes found out on Friday when he hit his tee ball in the right rough at the par-4 second hole. This is just plain bluegrass/rye rough, and between the spectators, the marshals, and the players (about 50 people total) we almost exhausted the five minutes to look for the ball before someone stumbled upon it.

Tim Herron told me back in Greensboro, at the Wyndham Championship, that his game was turning a corner. After a good finish there, he had to sit out the five weeks of the playoffs and said he probably did not practice during that time as much as he should have, yet his game seem to be picking up where it left off in Greensboro. He starts today 8-under par and five off the lead. Look for some more low rounds to chase up the leaderboard today, but also look for some of these tough par-3's and 4's to grab plenty of victims.

The Film Room
PGA TOUR Today, October 16, 2010
Rocco Mediate leads at the 2010 Open, searching for a title and 2011 status. Casey Black previews what to expect for Saturday. Watch it
Round 2 Highlights
Rocco Mediate posts a 6-under-par 65 and holds the 36-hole lead at the Open Watch it
Shot of the Day: Michael Allen
Michael Allen's approach at the par-4 8th ends up in the cup during the second round of the Open. Watch it
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I feel like Mediate has a firm grasp on this championship, but will he be able to keep the train on the tracks and keep the positive momentum going through the weekend? If he can, he probably wins; if he falters at all, there are several chasers who will not back off the throttle. Mediate mentioned on Friday that he is now able to cut the ball left to right because of a four-hour lesson he received from Hall of Fame great Lee Trevino after the Crowne Plaza Invitational this year. He also gave a lot of credit to his putting (now with a conventional putter) to fellow TOUR player Scott Piercy, who helped him after the Viking Classic. Don't go anywhere -- this weekend promises to an exciting shootout finish!