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The Tour Report

May 26 2012

7:08 PM

Notes from inside the ropes

Live Report Image
Halleran/Getty Images
Zach Johnson was nearly flawless on the front nine in Round 3.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent FORT WORTH, Texas — Zach Johnson is in contention because of the way he played his first nine holes in the third round at Colonial. He hit four fairways, three greens and took eight putts in shooting 31. Johnson one-putted every green with the exception of the second hole, where he chipped in for birdie. He leads the tournament in fewest putts, taking 76 strokes for 54 holes. Fortunate: Jason Dufner has played brilliantly. He's fourth in fairways in regulation, fourth in greens in regulation and fourth in total putts. Even with those numbers, a golfer can always use some good luck. At the 12th hole, Dufner drove into the left fairway bunker and the ball ran through the sand, took a strange hop and funneled into the middle of the fairway. He made birdie. Bunker play: Tournament officials were not happy with the bunkers following the 2011 competition, so they changed the consistency of the sand. Players have raved about the change, getting up and down at a rate of 57.44 percent. Matt Kuchar is 9 for 9 in sand saves this week. There is more sand in the bunkers and that leads to the occasional plugged lie, but players are able to get up and down at a remarkable rate. Par 3s: Tournament officials gave the field a different look on par 3s for the third round. The tee was moved up at the fourth, eighth and 16th holes, while the extreme right tee box was used at the 13th. Even with the change, the fourth hole still gave up just nine birdies on Saturday and ranks as the sixth most difficult hole of the week. Pregame: How did Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson spend Friday night, preparing for their grouping on Saturday? Dufner threw out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers game, a delivery he described as a "high strike off a changeup." Meanwhile, Johnson played LEGOs with his kids. Golf was not discussed. Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and inside the ropes this week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here