By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
LAS VEGAS — None of the trio atop the leaderboard ranks inside the top 20 in driving statistics this week. All three however, do rank highly in strokes gained – putting. Jonas Blixt leads the field in that statistic. Ryan Moore is second. Brendon de Jonge is 11th. None of these three is a one-week wonder. All have enjoyed solid putting seasons. Blixt has been most consistent, ranking 11th in strokes gained – putting this year. He also leads in fewest putts with rounds of 26-26-25 this week.
Deja vu: Jonas Blixt, Brendon de Jonge and Ryan Moore will be very good friends by Sunday night. They will play the entire weekend together as Saturday’s final grouping will be reprised on Sunday. It’s very rare for the final group to be a threesome and all three golfers play well enough to retain their position. All three players seemed to feed off the other’s momentum. Blixt had five birdies in his last six holes. De Jonge had five birdies offset by a single bogey and Moore had a clean card with six birdies.
Bad Day: John Daly had a tough afternoon. A very frustrating day of golf. Daly parred the first hole and made double at the second. He then drove into the hazard to the left of the third green. Daly walked down into the desert wash and attempted to play out of the arroyo. Ten minutes later he walked to the fourth tee with an eight on his card. After the quadruple bogey, Daly’s round spiraled to an 86. He shot 44 on the front nine and carded a pair of doubles on the inward nine while shooting 42. Daly has been bothered with elbow problems this year and received a cortisone shot last week. While in the hazard at the third hole, Daly made contact with a rock that sent pain through the joint. To his credit, he finished the round and signed the card.
Wrapped up: Justin Leonard’s approach from 136 yards at the 11th hole was all over the stick. In fact, it hit the pennant atop the flagstick. In most instances that will cause the ball to ricochet off the green but Leonard’s ball wrapped up in the flag and then dropped into the cup for a hole out eagle.
Adjustment: Colt Knost has not played since The Barclays and used the five weeks to work on his swing. Knost tried to get a little steeper in his attack and worked on making a better shoulder turn hoping to pick up distance. The results have been quick to pay off. Knost is averaging 304.3 yards per drive and has hit 41 of 53 greens this week.
Green speed: With slightly cooler temperatures the greens were firmer for Saturday’s round. Approach shots were getting a big first bounce and some ran through the putting surfaces that were so soft on Thursday and Friday. The course averaged 70.4 strokes in the third round, almost a full shot higher than in the first 36 holes.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
- Colt Knost
- Brendon de Jonge
- Ryan Moore