5 Things: Scott chasing No. 1; Rose's penalty; more
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. –– While Martin Kaymer and Jordan Spieth lead after three rounds of the Players Championship, here are 5 Things to know from Saturday's action at TPC Sawgrass:
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1. WORLD NO. 1 UPDATE: At the beginning of the week four players had a chance to supplant Tiger Woods as World No. 1: Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar.
Scott is currently in 28th place at 3 under and needs to finish in the top 16 – he's two shots out of that position and has the best chance to unseat Woods at the moment.
“The goal tomorrow has got to be to, depending upon conditions, to try and get to double digits,” Scott said. “It's possible, I'll be off fairly early, probably again, and try and sneak up there as high as I possibly can. You never know what's going to happen out here.”
Stenson is currently at 5 under and needs to finish in the top 6, which would be 8 under if everything stayed the same.
Watson made four consecutive birdies before a bogey at the 18th hole. That may not have mattered since Watson needs a solo second, but like Stenson, is at 5 under, seven shots from a chance at reaching the top of the world rankings.
Lastly, Kuchar needs to win and currently at 5 under, the 2012 champion would need a heroic final round just to get into the mix.
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2. RECORD BREAKING: The par-5 11th hole played to 544 yards in Saturday's third round. Historically, it has played as one of the easiest holes, ranking 16th over the 32 years at TPC Sawgrass with a scoring average of 4.835 before this week.
In those 32 years, the worst score at the 11th was a quadruple-bogey nine by four players: Fred Funk (1992), Roger Maltbie (1994), Olin Browne (2006) and Robert Karlsson (2010).
That list of four grew by one early Saturday when Jonas Blixt recorded a nine, the fifth such number in the history of the hole.
But then came Jeff Overton.
Overton, eight groups behind Blixt, was one worse than Blixt and the four others before him, recording a quintuple-bogey 10 that included an unplayable and a penalty stroke when his fifth shot found the water.
“I was trying to hit it a little extra hard so I could get it home because it was into the wind,” Overton said of his drive. “Didn't miss the fairway by much, it hit a tree, then it kicked it in the cart path, then it kicked it up against one of those big bushes, and I thought I could hit it.
"I thought I could kind of take advantage of it, and I took it away and swung it, and the thing (bush) kind of got in my way, and it connected with my club, and the ball just kind of topped it and it ran up, hit a tree and went into a different one of those bushes, and I took an unplayable and I tried to hit it on the green from a tough lie and it went way right.”
Overton said he was probably stupid at that point and was trying to make something happen from nothing.
“If you hit every single fairway, you've got some really good looks at it,” Overton said. “You miss one bad one, and you've just got to take your medicine. Got to do it.”
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3. WHEN 69 BEATS 67: And for media purposes, forget the guy who shoots 5-under 67 (Brandt Snedeker) and give us the gentleman who shot 69 (Adam Scott).
Doesn’t make sense?
Hey, it’s all about this appetite for celebrity news, folks, and the marriage of a global sports icon, Scott, which outweighs the same ol’, same ol’ golf story – even if it was beautifully produced by Snedeker, who scripted his best round since the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Having each made the cut on the number, level par, both Snedeker (six birdies, one bogey) and Scott (six birdies, three bogeys) played well, but it was the Aussie who had the media clamoring for his time. A day earlier, it had been confirmed that Scott had married longtime girlfriend Maria Kojzar and now he was being asked how he had been able to keep it such a secret.
“I don’t know,” Scott said. “We just wanted it to be a secret for the day (of the wedding, April 17, in the Bahamas) and then we haven’t told anyone to keep it a secret since.
“But I think people didn’t want to do the wrong thing by me. So, I’ve got them right where I want them.”
Scott, 33, had dated Kojzar, a Swede, for years before the relationship broke off. They reunited early in 2013 and the decision to get married came easily. “We just decided over a conversation,” Scott said. “We thought it was time, so we did it.”
Kojzar is an architect who is rarely seen at PGA Tour tournaments, and Scott said that is likely to be the case going forward. “Probably not,” he said, when asked if she would travel more. “She’s busy. She works hard, so she doesn’t travel much.”
By shooting 69, Scott moved up the leaderboard, but he’s still a few shots out of the top 16, which is where he needs to finish if he has any hope of leapfrogging Tiger Woods to become No. 1 this week.
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4. HD AGAIN: Justin Rose was going along nicely when he hit his second over the green at the 18th hole. Going with a wedge versus a putter, Rose settled in and then backed away quickly.
He called Sergio Garcia over his playing competitor and then both looked up at the large television screen near the 18th hole. Neither believed the ball moved and Rose played on making a par.
At 7 under, Rose was in position to not only make a run on Sunday, but to have a good shot at his best finish at the Players, which prior to this week was a T-22 in 2009.
Rose entered the scoring trailer and was told by the scorer that the incident had been reviewed and everything was OK. Just to be sure, Rose waited to sign his scorecard, and good thing, beacuse shortly after, things fell apart.
A call came in from the U.K. David Probyn, a European Tour rules official, was watching on Sky TV and called to say he believed the ball moved.
Rose reviewed the NBC television feed and everyone was comfortable the ball didn’t move. Then Rose went to the television compound and looked at the Sky footage and again everyone agreed the ball didn’t move.
But a third system was then use to review the incident.
“Under 50-times magnification in the truck maybe the ball moved a quarter of a dimple toward the toe of the club, which, obviously, if the ball moved, it moved and I get assessed an extra stroke penalty,” Rose said long after Garcia had driven off the grounds. “Whereas, if, in the moment, I would have called the rules official, I would have only been assessed one stroke by moving it back.”
Because Rose didn’t replace the ball he was assessed a two-shot penalty under Rule 18-2b (Ball Moving After Address).
“So one of those hard ones to take,” Rose said. “It's a game of millimeters, at the best of times; and yet it's kind of frustrating when you feel scared to address a golf ball. “
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5. SHORT SHOTS: With 82 players having made the 36-hole cut, a second cut was required. It fell at 2-over and among the 11 players who missed the 54-hole cut were Ernie Els (75), Jonas Blixt (77), and Rickie Fowler (78). . . . Of the 18 players who made the cut on the number, 14 of them played well enough to make the secondary cut, too. . . . Els hasn’t played on Sunday in this championship since 2009. . . . Kevin Chappell rode a roller-coaster over his final five holes, going double-bogey, birdie, eagle, bogey, bogey. He finished at 75 and is 1 under through 54 holes. . . . Fourteen different players made at least two double-bogeys, while Fowler and Joost Luiten (82) each made three. . . . Francesco Molinari started birdie, birdie, birdie en route to a 67 that shared low round of the day with Ryan Moore and Brandt Snedeker. . . . John Senden holed out from 75 feet short right of the green to make the day’s only eagle at the par-5 ninth. . . . Angel Cabrera had the dubious distinction of being the only player in Round 3 to hit into the water at the 17th. That makes 22 tee balls and 25 in all through three rounds.