KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – He seemed a bit surprised no one at the Ocean Course knew much about him. “I’ve led quite a few tournaments over the years,” David Lynn said.
Let the record show, No. 98 in the world order is speaking the truth; four times he has led after 18, seven times after 36, and five times through 54. But given that he has held on to win just one time in 370 European PGA Tour tournaments . . . well, he has to understand why he rates as a bit of a mystery. After all, the 38-year-old Englishman may be playing his 14th year on tour, but this 94th PGA Championship is just his second start in a major.
But give him this: He’s making the most of it.
Buoyed by a brilliant outward nine of four birdies and five pars, Lynn shot a 4-under 68 and was easily the most surprising name on the leaderboard when dangerous weather halted third-round proceedings at 4:50 p.m. (Play was officially suspended at 6:30 p.m., and the third round will resume at 7:45 a.m.)
Having started 73-74, Lynn found himself at 1-under 215 and tied for 11th. While so many others were forced to rush from the course and begin their wait, the unheralded Lynn was free to leave and enjoy the rest of Saturday evening.
He planned on doing just that, too.
“I didn’t get the call I was in (the field) until (July 31),” Lynn said. “But I’m on the island in a lovely villa which has got a lovely bit of decking area set over the water behind, there are gators and I literally stood on a gator’s head; that’s how close they are.”
Perhaps that explains his play this week. If you aren’t shaken by gators, how can golf at the Ocean Course scare you?
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HE’LL HAVE PLENTY OF TIME TO REST: Bo Van Pelt has never owned the lead after any round of a major championship. But he can at least lay claim to having the clubhouse lead at this 94th PGA Championship.
With his bogey-free round of 67 highlighted by his third straight birdie at the par-3 eighth, Van Pelt got to 3-under 213, a stroke clear of Steve Stricker (67), and two better than Jimmy Walker (67), Lynn (68) and Padraig Harrington (69) of those who had finished the third rounds.
“Only missed one green,” said Van Pelt, who has been a consistent performer in recent years, though he’s still looking to break through for his second PGA Tour win. His best finish in a major is T-8 at the 2011 Masters, but he likes his position, especially since he won’t have to drag himself out of bed Sunday morning and finish the third round.
Instead, Van Pelt will be able to sleep in, see where he is positioned late in the morning, then arrive for a tee time that should be between 1 and 1:45 p.m.
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CRITICS COME OUT: When play was halted at 4:50 p.m. and the rain soon came pouring down, folks were quick to question PGA of America officials. Why hadn’t Round 3 been commenced earlier, in groups of threes off of both tees?
Kerry Haigh, the managing director of championships and business development for the PGA of America, said that was never a consideration.
“I think the forecast for today was actually better than it was for yesterday,” he said. “Obviously, August in many states at this time of year is a challenging time, and sometimes you’re lucky and sometimes you’re not.”
Haigh pointed out that the weather problems this week have occurred in the morning, not the afternoon.
Given Sunday’s forecast, which is for good weather, Haigh said he was confident that they could finish Round 3, get players re-paired to begin Round 4 by 11:44 a.m., and have a winner by 6:50 p.m.
At least, that’s how they’ve drawn it up on paper.
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A LITTLE DRAMAMINE, PERHAPS? It wasn’t easy following along if you were Thomas Bjorn’s official scorekeeper. You had the circles and squares going in full force. He went birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, then bogey, bogey, bogey, before making birdie, bogey, bogey.
Whew. Ten holes and still no par, though he took care of that with six in a row starting at the 11th.
When he finished bogey, bogey, Bjorn had surely done an awful lot of work to shoot 74.
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IT ALL WENT SO BAD SO QUICKLY: With two birdies in his first seven holes Friday, Ryo Ishikawa actually got into a share of the lead, brief that may have been. You’d hardly remember, though, given the way things unfolded thereafter.
Ishikawa, the 20-year-old phenom from Japan, shot 42 on the back, signed for 77, then went out in 38 in Saturday’s third round to fall even further behind. By the time he signed for 79, he was 9 over and ahead of just four players.
Ishikawa has made one birdie in his last 32 holes.
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SHORT SHOTS: One day after there were 41 scores of 80 or higher recorded, only George McNeill had failed to break 80 of the 46 who had completed Round 3. (McNeill finished bogey, double bogey, bogey to shoot 80.). . . . Before rain forced him from the course, Vijay Singh birdied the par-5 seventh for a third straight day. . . . Though he’s been a consistent presence in the major championships, what with cuts made in a tour-best 12 straight, Steve Stricker is looking for his first top 10 since being T-6 at the 2009 Masters. His chances improved dramatically with a birdie at 18 to shoot 67 and finish at 2 under, one off of Van Pelt’s clubhouse lead. . . . Trevor Immelman had pushed to 3 under through 10 holes, good for a share of fifth. He is chasing his first top 10 in a major since winning the 2008 Masters.