Wolff makes 3 eagles, shoots 61
October 10, 2020
By Ben Everill , PGATOUR.COM
Matthew Wolff sinks 15-footer for eagle at Shriners
LAS VEGAS – An incredible stretch that included three eagles in five holes has catapulted Matthew Wolff into contention at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin.
Through eight holes of his third round, Wolff was just one under par and getting swallowed up on the leaderboard as multiple players sat deep in red figures on moving day.
Then he exploded.
Wolff carded three eagles and three birdies to go 9-under on his next nine holes, setting up a chance for a 59. But his last three holes featured putts that hung agonizingly on the edge of the hole, forcing the 21-year-old to be content with a blistering career low 10-under 61.
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When he signed his card he was the clubhouse leader at 18-under and by the end of the day he sat just two off the pace of joint leaders Patrick Cantlay and Martin Laird in a tie for third.
Coming off his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, Wolff is driven to go one better.
“Jobs not done,” Wolff said referencing that while it was a fantastic round his vision was firmly set on trying to win the tournament.
“This course you have so many birdie opportunities if you hit the ball in the fairway. It's not long. The pins were in pretty favorable spots. I just told myself to give myself as many looks as I can and the putts would fall. Even though it seems like some of them didn't, I hit the ball really well.”
After opening with two pars, Wolff seemingly kick started things by chipping in from off the third green for birdie but he could only manage a string of five pars following.
He would then birdie the par-5 9th from inside six feet and the par-4 10th from just inside nine feet. Then things really clicked. A brilliant hole-out eagle from 116 yards on the par-4 11th came next.
“It was more the wedge shot on 10 really was the turning point. That really felt like it was a little different swing, but different in a good way. I flagged it on 10 and then 11 I holed out. And from then on I felt like I didn't hit it outside 15 feet pretty much the rest of the way,” Wolff said.
“I was really happy with how my game is trending and the things I've been working on and put myself in a good spot. The hole-out on 11, you never expect to hole-out, but when it happens, kind of just puts you in a really good mindset.
“I was a little frustrated on the front nine. Felt like I hit a lot of good putts and a lot of good shots and only shot 2-under, especially with how low the scores were. I felt like I was falling back.”
A missed chance from 13-feet on the 12th would prove costly in the chase for 59 a little later on, but sub 60 wasn’t on his mind even after dropping in a 17-foot eagle putt on the par-5 13th.
He barely missed a birdie from the same length on the par-3 14th before hitting a mint 3-wood onto the drivable par-4 15th to 15-feet. He would nail the putt and head to the par-5 16th having made three eagles in five holes and needing to play the final three holes three under for a 59.
A brilliant drive and approach to just 15-feet set up the chance to become the first player since records have been kept to make a fourth eagle in a six-hole stretch but his putt almost inexplicably hung on the lip of the hole.
The birdie kept the chase for 59 alive, as did a great approach on the par-3 17th to inside 15-feet. Cruelly his ball defied gravity once again and hung on the edge. He would also miss a 12-foot birdie try on the final hole, curling around the back side to sit just a few revolutions from dropping.
“On 16 I thought it I made it about two feet out and it kind of just snapped a little harder than I thought. Every single one of those putts I hit it right where I wanted to and got the speed right. Felt like I hit it on my line; just didn't go in,” Wolff added.
“The greens are pretty tricky out here. Still could putt a little better, but I was really happy with where the ball striking is, and I'm sure the putts will drop tomorrow.”
Wolff is just the fifth player to make three eagles on either the front 9 or back 9 in a round on the PGA TOUR since records have been kept (1983). He is the first to do it since 2006.
"After I missed that putt on 17, the one that I thought just kind of broke right and didn't go in, I kind of realized… dang, if that putt would've went in, all I would've had to do is birdie 18 to shoot 59,” Wolff continued.
“It didn't creep in until then, but I gave myself as many good looks as I could and just wasn't meant to be. I'm sure I'll get that opportunity again and my game is feeling really good.”