Dickerson, Sterling share 54-hole lead in Louisiana Open

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Bubba Dickerson was pleased to finish his third round with a share of the lead.
March 28, 2009
Joe Chemycz, PGA TOUR Staff

BROUSSARD, La. -- Bubba Dickerson and Scott Sterling may share the 54-hole lead at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, but picking a Sunday winner might be the toughest call to make in quite some time. Seventeen players are within three shots of the co-leaders and 32 are within four heading into the final round at the weather-delayed event.

Inside the Numbers
Dickerson vs. Sterling
Category Dickerson Sterling
Eagles 1 0
Birdies 11 12
Pars 38 39
Bogeys 4 3
Double Bogeys 0 0
Other 0 0
Driving Accuracy 74.4% 76.9%
Driving Distance 287.8 yds. 269.9 yds.
Greens in Regulation 72.2% 72.2%
Putts per Round 28.3 28.7
Putts per GIR 1.744 1.769
Sand Saves 50.0% 0.0%

Earlier in the week, Le Triomphe Country Club was besieged by overnight thunderstorms, which pushed the completion of Round 1 into Friday and Round 2 into Saturday. When the 36-hole cut was finally made, 76 players advanced to Round 3 and none was further than seven strokes from the lead.

"You could tell with that cut it was going to be anybody's golf tournament, especially with one good round," said Sterling, an LSU grad who lives about 90 minutes away in Baton Rouge. "With these conditions, nobody's going to blitz the field. I think that's why no one has really taken off. It's out there for sure. Anybody can post a number."

Sterling (68) and Dickerson (69) are only 9-under 204 after three trips around the rain-soaked layout despite lift, clean and place conditions. Australian Steve Allan (67) is one shot back and alone in third place.

"You just never know," said Dickerson. "Somebody can come out and shoot a super-low score. I know it's out there, I had 64 yesterday."

Vance Veazey (67), winner of the season-opening Panama Digicel Championship, leads a group of four players at 7-under 206. He is joined by Florida State rookie Jonas Blixt (66), Richard Johnson (69) and second-round leader Drew Laning (72).

From there, the picture gets jumbled. Ten players are tied at minus-6, and 15 more are packed tightly at minus-5.

"Anytime you shoot under par in these conditions, you've got to be pleased," said Sterling, the only player to post three sub-70 scores thus far. "Whether you're a couple shots ahead or a couple shots behind, you just try to play the golf course."

Sterling was nothing but consistent in his third round, with three birdies and 15 pars, including 10 in a row to complete the day.

"There was not a whole lot of attack for me today," he said. "I knew it was going to be a tough day. Luckily, I hit it solid into the wind. If you hit it solid, par's a good score today. I had a lot of good birdie chances and I hit some good putts, they just didn't go in."

Dickerson, a former U.S. Amateur champion, also had a bunch of chances and also struggled to make birdies.

"It was difficult to get the ball close to the hole but I managed to play pretty well on the front nine," said the former Florida Gator. "On the back I got into a groove and I started hitting it really, really close, but I couldn't get anything to drop."

Dickerson chipped in for birdie from 30 feet on No. 10 but then missed back-to-back 15-footers for birdie at Nos. 13 and 14, the toughest two holes on the course.

"I kept having putts where I couldn't tell if it went right or left. They were so straight that I couldn't read them," he said. "I felt like I was hitting good putts so it wasn't that frustrating for me."

The year has been nothing but frustrating for Allan, who has missed all four cuts on the PGA TOUR this season.

"I really haven't been playing that badly, I just haven't been putting a score on the board," said Allan, who hadn't bettered scores of 70 before this week. "I don't know if I've been trying too hard and putting too much pressure on myself. I really didn't have a goal in regards to performance. It was more about trying to trust myself and not get frustrated if I made mistakes. Coming into this week, I've just tried to relax and enjoy it more."

Third-Round Notes: Second-round play was suspended at 7:05 p.m. Friday with 66 players still on the course. Play resumed at 8:00 a.m. Saturday. ... Tom Byrum, Paul Stankowski, Steve Pate and Marco Dawson withdrew after play Friday and did not return to the course on Saturday to complete their second rounds. ... A total of 76 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 1-under 141. Seventeen players were tied for 60th place. ... Blixt had the best round of the day, a bogey-free, 5-under 66. Blixt started the day tied for 45th and moved up to a tie for fourth heading into Sunday's final round. ... Saturday's third-round scoring average was 71.587. ... Todd Demsey withdrew prior to the start of the third round.