On one of the stranger golf days in recent memory -- Congressional kept fans out of the AT&T National because of concerns for safety in the wake of storms -- Brendon de Jonge put himself in position for his very first PGA Tour win. And several others, including Tiger Woods, put themselves in position to derail him.
De Jonge shot a -2 to hold solitary possession of the lead at -7. One stroke back sit Bo Van Pelt, Woods and Seung-yul Noh. Low card among the leaders was Billy Hurley's -5, which left him just two strokes behind de Jonge.
Woods probably hasn't played in front of such a small in-tournament gallery since he was in diapers, but that didn't appear to damage his game. He began the afternoon five strokes back, and ended it just one back.
"There's a good and bad to [playing in front of no spectators]," Woods said. "We still had an amazing amount of TV crews out there moving around in their carts and setting themselves right up in my lines and stuff like that. We had to move a few of those guys out there. That was still prevalent."
"I told Tiger that was a Bo Van Pelt crowd, so I was used to that," Van Pelt laughed. "I was very comfortable with 10 or 15 people watching me play golf."
Several players admitted to a relaxed feel to the day, perhaps because there were no "get in the hole!" or "mashed potatoes!" idiots. Still, there's something missing when you don't have anyone watching you, as Hurley noted.
"It was a little strange a couple times," he noted. "You make a nice putt, and you're like, 'okay, we'll move on.' But at the same time it was sort of peaceful out there and easy to get around."
Evening storms could make the course easier to play come Sunday morning. Regardless, all appears set for Woods to take another step up the ladder to recovery. Can he do it?
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