Gardiner takes 54-hole lead in Tour Championship

September 28, 2013
Royce Thompson, Tour staff

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Scott Gardiner eagled his opening hole on Saturday at Dye’s Valley at TPC Sawgrass and takes a one-stroke lead into the final round. Gardiner’s 65 put him at 10-under-par 200 heading into Sunday of the Tour Championship. With a win, Gardiner could earn top status for the 2013-14 season and a spot in THE PLAYERS Championship.  

Chesson Hadley (70), the 36-hole leader, and Joe Durant (68) are one back in a tie for second.

“I think I hit a 4-iron to about six feet,” Gardiner said about his approach into the par-5 first. “That’s a nice way to start.”

Andrew Putnam (67), who aced the par-3 11th in round three, is two off the pace while Jamie Lovemark (66) is three behind the lead.

Three players are four back in a tie for sixth including Jacksonville Beach resident Bud Cauley(65).

Gardiner started round three four-strokes behind Hadley. After his eagle on No. 1 the Australian closed out his front nine with three consecutive birdies. With the help of his coach Nick Bradley, Gardiner has changed his approach on the course and is starting to see some positive results.

“It’s more about planning how I’m going to play into the greens,” he said. “Just trying to use the whole of the green so I’ve got more margin for error.”

Gardiner started working with Bradley the week before the Travelers Championship because he wanted to manage himself better on the course. The father-of-two has really put an emphasis on the mental side of the game and is starting to see some good results.

“Great players talk about the process and that’s really the difference between them and the rest of us,” he said. “I’m trying to work on that.”

Gardiner was in great position to earn his PGA TOUR card back for the 2013-14 season after his T3 finish at the Hotel Fitness Championship earlier this month. The 37-year-old pro did not know how much that finish in Fort Wayne was worth and was quite surprised when he found out. With his status on TOUR guaranteed for next year, Gardiner is more focused on winning this tournament as opposed to getting a nice finish.

“Like my son’s always telling me, I need to get a trophy for him,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve won since he was on the scene and he says, ‘why does daddy always lose.’”

After his round Hadley could not wait to get to the practice tee after finishing bogey-double bogey. The ball was just not going where he wanted it to go down the stretch. Hadley really struggled with his irons on Saturday afternoon hitting just 12 greens in regulation. The Georgia Tech alum has been pleased with his ability to scramble and his positive attitude on the course but knows that he will need to play better if he wants to win on Sunday.

“I need to go find something for tomorrow,” he said. “This isn’t junior golf, so we need to go figure it out.”

Third-Round Notes & Quotes:

-- There was a nearly three-hour rain delay to the start of round three.

-- Scott Gardiner ranks first in putts per green in regulation this week.

-- Gardiner has one win on the Tour at the 2010 Chattanooga Classic Presented by Black Creek.

-- This is the first time Gardiner has held the lead after 54-holes on the Tour.

-- Gardiner’s final round scoring average this year on the PGA TOUR was 71.86.

-- Chesson Hadley is T8 in GIR this week hitting 39 of 54 greens in regulation.

-- Hadley’s final round scoring average this year is 70.20.

-- Hadley came from behind to win the Rex Hospital Open earlier this year with a final round 7-under-par 64.

-- Joe Durant is first in fairways hit (35/42) and third in GIR (43/54) through three rounds this week.

-- Durant’s lone win on the Tour came in 1996 at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic.

-- Durant has four victories on the PGA TOUR with his last win coming at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in 2006.

-- Andrew Putnam started the week in 70th position on the Tour Finals’ money list. Putnam needs a good finish on Sunday to join his brother Michael, No.1 on the Regular Season money list, on the PGA TOUR for the 2013-14 season.

-- The only brothers to earn their card the same year on the Tour were Dean and Brendon Pappas. In 2001 the Pappas brothers both finished inside the top-20 on the money list and graduated to the PGA TOUR.