By: Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
SAN MARTIN, Calif. — Give John Mallinger credit for the most creative shot of the third round of the Frys.com Open on Saturday.
Mallinger had an eagle putt on the 15th green but had to roll it over a knoll that would send the ball breaking hard to the left. A two-putt would have been challenging, so Mallinger decided not to putt. He used a wedge and chipped over the knoll from off the tight grass of the green, getting the ball to spin to a halt 3 feet above the hole. From there, Mallinger went on to make birdie. It’s officially recorded as a two-putt.
Putting change: Vijay Singh was not giving away any secrets, but changes have been made. Singh says he discovered something that clicked in his putting during practice this week and has been confident on the greens. Singh would not elaborate, only saying it was a minor change to his grip. It has not been a good putting year for the Fijian. Singh is ranked 175th in strokes gained-putting. Even more troublesome, Singh is 151st in final-round scoring with a stroke average of 72.4.
Family affair: Jonas Blixt had a good time on the golf course Saturday afternoon. He frequently chatted with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend during the course of play, laughing and joking as if it was the most casual of Saturday rounds. Blixt will be without their companionship on Sunday as the couple will not be at the golf course.
Hold on: Saturday is known as “moving day” on the PGA TOUR but if you have a four-shot lead and are trying to win for the first time, then it becomes “Hold On Saturday.” That’s just what Mallinger did. He played well enough to hold on to his lead. Mallinger hit nine of 14 fairways and 11 greens but took 28 putts. He had putting rounds of 26 and 26 on both Thursday and Friday. He is now ranked 47th this week in strokes-gained-putting.
Tough hole location: The cup was cut 15 paces onto the seventh green and five paces off the left. That hole location is just a few feet past a false front on the green and it created problems. Nicolas Colsaerts ran it off the green and made double bogey. Jhonattan Vegas blasted out of the back bunker, rolled it off the green and finally made a 15-footer for a one-putt bogey.
Wife knows best?: If Mallinger wins on Sunday, he needs to thank his wife, Jan, who followed her husband, walking 18 holes in the third round, and worried over every shot. She constantly looked for a combination that would bring John good luck. Jan finally discovered if she carried her chapstick in her front left pocket and put her cell phone in her back left pocket, then John would make putts. With that specific combination, Mallinger birdied two of four holes. Jan says her mojo will be full force for Sunday.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
- John Mallinger
- Vijay Singh
- PGA TOUR