Windy conditions limit movement on Saturday at Colonial
May 28, 2022
By Kevin Robbins , PGATOUR.COM
- May 28, 2022
Scottie Scheffler takes 54-hole lead by two at Charles Schwab
FORT WORTH, Texas — The wind blew hard on the day for moving. Little moving could be done.
Scottie Scheffler started the third round with a share of the lead at the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club. He birdied the last hole on a gusty Saturday to take it alone by two. His 30-footer there was one of three birdies in his entire round on a course with a reputation for yielding plenty of them. Colonial (par 70) averaged 70.6 strokes for the field. Only Scheffler and 19 other players broke par.
Brendon Todd crafted a masterful front nine at Colonial Country Club, with an eagle and three birdies. He made straight pars on the back, committed no bogeys, shot a 5-under 65 and rose 13 spots to a tie for second place, two behind Scheffler. Todd, who made the only significant move of the tournament, hit just eight greens in regulation. He missed four greens with wedges in his hand.
Scott Stallings, who began the afternoon in a tie for first with Scheffler and Beau Hossler, looked out of the picture after a bogey on No. 10, his third in four holes. But he rallied with three birdies over the last seven. Stallings lost just one place with an even-par round. He tied Todd at 9 under.
The story about Saturday at the Schwab begins and ends with the conditions players know to expect when the PGA TOUR comes to Texas for its annual springtime swing.
The wind battered good shots. It made bad shots worse. Scheffler hit the same shot into the par-4 12th and the par-3 13th. Both succeeded. Minutes later, he faced an identical yardage with a similar angle on the par-4 14th. Then the wind paused. Scheffler watched his ball sail like a runaway kite. It came to rest almost 70 feet past the hole.
“That’s just stuff that kind of happens out there,” Scheffler said.
Even Todd had trouble explaining his score — the best of the round by two strokes. He even played later in the day, when the winds were rising. He said Colonial was his favorite course on TOUR, owing to the fact that Todd, one of the shorter drivers among his peers, can compete on a 6,929-yard — actual distance on Saturday — golf course.
Todd ranks 55th in driving distance among the 69 players who made the cut. But his precision this week from the tee has been exceptional. A three-time winner on TOUR, Todd ranks first through 54 holes in driving accuracy among the 69 players who made the cut. He also tops the list in Strokes Gained: Putting, earning five shots on the field. He took a mere 22 putts in the third round.
“It just seems like when we get calm conditions out here, guys go crazy,” said Todd, whose best finish in six starts at the Schwab is a tie for fifth in 2014. “But it's almost the opposite for me. A little bit of wind allows me to use the wind to shape shots into the pins and stay patient. That's the key.”
But the key isn’t always predictable. His 9-iron at the downwind par-3 16th, for example, carried 168 yards — 20 yards longer than his typical 9-iron yardage. Playing alongside Tood, Mito Pereira swung the same club. His ball traveled 185 yards and flew the green.
“The wind was whipping,” Todd said, “and it was good to get out there and keep the ball in play and make some birdies.”
Stallings, who shot 67-64 this week after qualifying Monday for the U.S. Open, also fought the elements all afternoon. He was two shots over par at the turn. He bogeyed the par-4 10th. Nine under to start the day, Stallings was five strokes behind Scheffler when his afternoon began to improve. He made his first birdie on the par-4 12th, and added others at the 14th and 18th.
“Everyone had to deal with it,” Stallings said of the wind, “and I didn't do a very good job early. But it was nice to see a few go in late, closer to where I wanted to be going into tomorrow.”
He and the others know they’ll need to do a very good job of managing a different sort of distraction Sunday. Scheffler, the Dallas resident and reigning Masters champion with four PGA TOUR wins this season, will have brigades of noisy support from family, friends, neighbors and others from the Dallas-Fort Worth area who claim Scheffler as one of theirs. With Jordan Spieth six shots behind, Scheffler will be the expected and obvious sentimental favorite.
The wind will blow again. With its many turns and wind-shielding trees, Colonial likely will present the same defenses it mounted Saturday.
“You've just got to be committed to what you're doing,” Scheffler said.
“Hopefully if I hit enough good shots, I'll be able to get a few good breaks and some bad ones, as well, and just kind of ride things out.”