Even winners make bogeys, right? Seung-Yul Noh will put that idea to the test after taking the lead with a 65 Saturday at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans – and remaining bogey-free through 54 holes.
Noh will be pushed by Keegan Bradley, course record holder Ben Martin, Paul Casey and others during Sunday’s final round.
Here are 5 Things to know from the third round at TPC Avondale.
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1. ALL ANSWERS ARE NOH: It’s not the tournament: Seung-Yul Noh has finished T-66 and missed a cut in his two previous Zurich Classic starts.
And it’s not his recent form: Noh is making his first start since withdrawing from the Shell Houston Open to start the month.
Simply put, it’s a matter of avoiding mistakes on a course that is yielding low scores. Even as he wobbled with a bad drive at the last Saturday, Noh recovered for a textbook par – his 11th against seven birdies. For the week, Noh has 18 birdies and 36 pars. That’ll get you places.
Noh’s best career finish is a T-4 at the AT&T National nearly two years ago. He’ll look to not only top that, but secure his first Tour victory to go with his Nationwide Children’s Hospital win on Web.com Tour last year and two Asian Tour wins. By the way, Noh is wearing a ribbon on his hat to remember victims of the ferry accident in his homeland.
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2. KEEGAN KEEPS GOING: On the heels of a 69-66 start, Keegan Bradley put together his best round so far this week with a 65 that saw eight birdies against a bogey.
What’s the difference between Bradley and Noh? While Noh hasn’t carded any bogeys, Bradley has had one each day (twice at the ninth, Thursday and Saturday). On the flip side, Bradley has an eagle while the leader has none.
Bradley’s second-place finish at last month’s Arnold Palmer Invitational came on the heels of a T-12 at the Honda Classic and five straight finishes of T-18 or better to start the year. That had some thinking he could win his second major at the Masters – where he instead missed the cut. The 2011 PGA Championship winner, however, is bouncing back. Hmmm, perhaps in time to contend at Pinehurst in the U.S. Open.
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3. CONTENDERS ABOUND: Although first- and second-round leader Ben Martin took a considerable step back with his first over-par round of the week, his third round kept him within four shots of Noh’s lead. He’ll be in the mix Sunday, along with several others near the top.
Perhaps most notably, Paul Casey moved to T-7 at 13 under, thanks to a 64 that was the day’s best round. He jumped 20 spots after opening 71-68. The Englishman is looking for his first win on Tour since the 2009 Shell Houston Open.
Robert Streb is closer to the lead, in third and three back of Noh at 15 under despite his week-worst 68 that saw just four birdies; they came in a back-to-back pair on each nine. At 14 under alongside Martin are Jeff Overton, with a steady 67-68-67 week, and Andrew Svoboda, who with a 70 showed glimpses of great shotmaking while carding his week’s highest score.
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4. SURVIVE AND ADVANCE: At the opposite end of Saturday’s play, a secondary cut narrowed the field to the 74 players who are under par this week. That sent 10 players home early, including Josh Teater (he of Friday’s hole-in-one) and seven others who were under par. Teater and Nick Watney shot even-par 72s Saturday.
Only Brice Garnett (1 over after a 75 Saturday) and Geoff Ogilvy (4 over after a 78) missed the secondary cut over par for the week.
Chad Collins had the second-highest round of the day at 76, but survived the secondary cut on the strength of a first-round 66.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: David Duval turned in his third under-par round in as many days with a birdie at the 18th for a 70 as he continues to spend 2014 evaluating his future on Tour. . . . Matching the 65s of Keegan Bradley and leader Seung-Yul Noh as the second-lowest round of the day were Danny Lee and Tim Wilkinson, both moving to T-10 at 11 under. . . . Two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen stayed in the hunt with a 68 that has him T-10 at 11 under, while reigning U.S. Open champion Justin Rose shot 69 to slip to T-20 at 9 under, nine shots back of Noh’s lead.