Notebook: Dufner's first ace on TOUR; players battle heat

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Jason Dufner's ace helped him to a 64, but he's seven shots behind the leaders.
October 27, 2012
Chris Reimer, PGA TOUR Staff

Weather: Mostly sunny and humid, with the high reaching 94 and heat index at more than 105. Winds W-SW 4-8 MPH.


Due to the threat of inclement weather on Friday and Saturday, tee times were moved up 30 minutes, with the first group teeing off at 7:10 and the leaders at 11 a.m. Tee times will continue with this same schedule for Sunday's final round.

Bo Van Pelt 70-65-62=197 (-16)

Defending champion Van Pelt has gone lower with each round this week, from a 70 (-1) in round one (his highest round of seven career attempts), to a 65 (-6) in round two to a tournament-record-tying 62 (-9) today that moved him to the top of the leaderboard, tied with Robert Garrigus. Van Pelt double-bogeyed the 18th hole. A birdie would have given him a 59 (-12).

His third round included a 29 (-6) on the front nine, which ties for his second-lowest in a PGA TOUR sanctioned event (although the CIMB Classic is an unofficial TOUR event until next year). Van Pelt carded a 28 during the first round of the 2008 Mayakoba Classic and a 29 during the third round of the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Van Pelt made 11 birdies (and one double-bogey) in round three. His previous career-best birdie total for 18 holes was nine -- which he has done five times, most recently during the first round of the 2008 Puerto Rico Open

A year ago, Van Pelt won the inaugural CIMB Classic with rounds of 66-64-67-64. His scoring average at the Mines Resort and Golf Club now stands at 65.428.

Van Pelt's 16-under-par total ties the low 54-hole score at the CIMB Classic, set by Van Pelt and Ben Crane in 2011 and 2010, respectively.

Van Pelt is making the most of his first title defense. His other win on the PGA TOUR came at the 2009 US Bank Championship in Milwaukee in the event's last year on the schedule. He won the 2003 Omaha Classic on the Tour, but graduated to the PGA TOUR the following year and thus did not return to defend his title.

Van Pelt won last week at the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

Van Pelt returns to defend his CIMB Classic title on the heels of perhaps his best season on the PGA TOUR after posting 10 top 10s in 24 starts and finishing a career-best No. 22 in the FedExCup standings. Among Van Pelt's 10 top 10s was a runner-up finish to Tiger Woods at the AT&T National in July and a pair of T10s at the BMW Championship in his home state of Indiana and the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Van Pelt claimed the 2011 CIMB Classic in convincing fashion, posting a four-day total of 23-under-par 261, good for a six-shot victory over Jeff Overton.

Van Pelt has led entering the final round four previous times on the PGA TOUR, the most recent at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open where he finished T6. He has never won an event when leading or being tied for the lead after 54 holes.

Robert Garrigus 64-64-69=197 (-16)

Second-round leader Garrigus, making his first CIMB Classic start, quickly gave up his two-stroke lead by making bogey on the first and second holes to start the third round. He bounced back, however, and carded a 2-under-par 69 to enter the final round tied for the lead.

Garrigus has one victory on the PGA TOUR, the 2010 Children's Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World. He was five shots off the lead entering the final round and shot 64 (-8) to win. Garrigus has six runner-up finishes, including three this season.

Garrigus is looking to cap off a strong 2012 campaign in which he posted seven top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR, including a runner-up finish at the Transitions Championship, where he lost in a playoff to Luke Donald, and a T2 at the RBC Canadian Open. Garrigus finished No. 23 in the FedExCup.

Garrigus has held or shared the 54-hole lead three previous times on the PGA TOUR, the last of which came at this year's 2012 RBC Canadian Open. He finished all three events in 2nd.

Chris Kirk 69-66-63=198 (-15)

Kirk, who finished T13 at the 2011 CIMB Classic, posted five birdies on the front nine en route to a 30 (-5), then went bogey free again on the back to move into contention with a 63. His career-low round on the PGA TOUR is a 63, which he has recorded four times, most recently at the 2012 Deutsche Bank Championship.

Kirk owns one PGA TOUR victory -- the 2011 Viking Classic, which he led heading into the final round. Kirk has been within one shot of the leader heading into the final round once before in his career: at the 2011 Shell Houston Open he was one shot back after 54 holes. He shot 67 (-5) and finished T2.

Brendon de Jonge 68-65-66=199 (-14)

de Jonge returns to the CIMB Classic one year after a T31 in 2011. In 28 starts on the PGA TOUR in 2012, de Jonge made 24 cuts and posted two top 10s with his best result a T8 at the Travelers Championship in July. In search of his first PGA TOUR victory, the native of Zimbabwe has come close with three third-place performances in his PGA TOUR career, all coming in 2010 at the Puerto Rico Open, The Greenbrier Classic and the Viking Classic.

De Jonge led through three rounds at this year's AT&T National, but finished T11.

Jbe Kruger 66-64-69=199 (-14)

South African Jbe Kruger, playing in the final group, shot a third-round 69 and is two stroked behind heading into the final round at the CIMB Classic. Kruger gained entry into the co-sanctioned event by virtue of his No. 3 position on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. Kruger won the Avantha Masters this year for his first victory on the Asian Tour.

This is Kruger's second appearance at the CIMB Classic. He finished T28 here last year.

Kruger's results at other PGA TOUR events include missing the cut at this year's British Open, a T57 at this year's World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship and a T23 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.

The best finish by a member of the Asian Tour at the CIMB Classic was a T5 by Mardan Mamat in 2010.

Miscellaneous Notes

Tiger Woods, in his first CIMB Classic appearance, moved up the leaderboard during the early part of the third round, thanks to a flawless 30 (-5) on the front nine at the Mines Resort and Golf Club. The 30 ties his lowest nine-hole score of the year (R1 -- British Open). Things took a turn for Woods, however, on the back nine with three bogeys and a double bogey. He enters the final round five shots back of Bo Van Pelt and Robert Garrigus.

Jason Dufner recorded his first hole-in-one in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event, holing out on the 201-yard 7th hole with a 5-iron during the third round.

Jeff Overton made eagle on No. 1, a 358-yard par 4. This is the 14th time he's posted an eagle on a par-4, most recently at the Puerto Rico Open in March.

Johnson Wagner carded a career-best 29 (-6) to start his third round. A 38, however, on the back nine gave him a solid -- yet no doubt disappointing -- 67 (-3) on the day.

India's Gaganjeet Bhullar got off to a great start in the third round, going 5-under par through 10 holes, including five consecutive 3s (No. 6-10). Gaganjeet is making his first CIMB Classic start. He finished with a bogey on 12 and a birdie on 15 to card a 65 (-6) and move into the top 10, just behind Jbe Kruger, who stands at T4.

Ben Crane, winner of the inaugural CIMB Classic, shot 66-67-68 and is T10 heading into the final round.

First-round leader Troy Matteson was bogey-free heading into the third round, and technically maintained that streak. However, he posted two double-bogeys on the front nine (No. 4 and 9).

40 players (out of 48) posted sub-par rounds Saturday.

Bogey-free rounds:

Round 1: Troy Matteson (63); Jeff Overton (64); Danny Chia (66); Kevin Na (67); Kevin Stadler (67)

Round 2: Greg Chalmers (66); Troy Matteson (69); Brendon De Jonge (65); Trevor Immelman (63); Anirban Lahiri (66)

Round 3: Chris Kirk; Greg Chalmers; Bill Haas; John Senden (66); Seung-Yul Noh (67); Marcus Fraser (65); Bob Estes (70);