Sunday, March 21, 2021
The PGA National Champion course proved to be the big story in the third round of the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens yesterday, with the whipping winds holding down the par-breakers to a mere 19. And, of those, 12 were of the 1-under-par 69 variety.
Matt Jones, who tied the course record with a 9-under 61 on Thursday, then shot nine strokes higher on Friday to lose the lead, was one of the 12 69ers Saturday and sort of slid in the back door to wind up in front again at 10 under. Aaron Wise, whose pair of 64s looked solid as Saturday's play began, imploded in the wind and his 75 dropped him into a tie for second with J. B. Holmes, who shot 3-under 67, both three behind Jones.
C. T. Pan made the strongest statement of the day with the low round of 65 and is tied for third with Cameron Tringale (69) and Sam Ryder (72) at 6 under.
Ted Potter is barely above the bottom of the 68-man field after a 4-over-74 that began with great promise - birdies on 3, 4 and 5. But a double bogey on No. 6 ended the euphoria, which returned briefly on No. 8 when he canned a birdie from a distance of 66 feet, 8 inches. A bogey on 9 led to a front nine of 1-under 34.
An 11 foot, 3-inch birdie putt on 11 put Ted at 2 under for the round and 1 under for 47 holes, and in good position to make a run on the final seven holes. Bogeys on 12 and 14 stalled that run, and two balls in the water on the par-3 15th led to a disastrous quadruple bogey 7. He closed with pars on 16, 17 and 18. The good news is Ted can finish way down and still collect around $15,000. But he can also rebound and wind up with well over $200,000 in the bank for the season. He has made 12 birdies over the 54 holes.
Camilo Villegas, fighting for his exemption in his final try, followed his 69-65 with 2-over 72 and is tied for 13th at 4 under. The ex-Gator needs no worse than a third-place finish to regain his Tour status. Brian Gay is at 1-over 211, and Seminole Chase Koepka is at 2 over.
Phil Mickelson thrilled his huge following, showing off a slew of his famed trick shots from behind trees and on cart paths all over the course, and wound up at 2 under, tied for 27th.
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