Zach Johnson 'really didn't play that bad' with 1-over 71 in Round 3

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Zach Johnson 'really didn't play that bad' with 1-over 71 in Round 3

PGA Tour

Zach Johnson 'really didn't play that bad' with 1-over 71 in Round 3

SOUTHPORT, England – Weather conditions were markedly more pleasant Saturday for the third round of the 146th British Open.

Sunny skies and winds of just 3-to-5 mph made Royal Birkdale a much kinder, softer foe.

Zach Johnson, who a day earlier shot the best round of the field, wasn’t able to make a move, carding a 1-over-par 71 to stand at 2-over 212 for the tournament. The two-time major winner and 2015 Open champion is tied for 40th heading into the final round.

No one took better advantage of the climate in Round 3 than South African Branden Grace, who set a major championship record with an 8-under 62. Johnson noted what a difference a day, and the atmosphere, made.

“Much softer, much greener,” Johnson said. “Very, very gettable. Very gettable today, obviously. You saw that.”

The Iowan – who fired a 66 Friday behind a wet, gusty backdrop – was hoping for more of the slop. No such luck. 

He made birdie at the second hole, but gave back a shot with a bogey on No. 3. 

A pair of bogeys at 13 and 18 offset his other birdie on the back at 15.

“I was just trying to stay patient because I knew it was still gettable,” Johnson said. “I knew there were still birdies out there. If I got the ball in the fairway, there was an opportunity. The middle of my round I just got a little bit lazy and didn’t get much out of it. My last four or five holes I hit great putts that didn’t go in.”

Johnson hit 57 percent of fairways and 67 percent of greens in regulation. He hit 29 putts.

“I think for the most part my game plan was great today,” he said. “I don’t know what happened. I really didn’t play that bad. If someone were to follow in my footsteps they would have seen it wasn’t that bad a day.

“Yesterday I made putts. I made about an 8-footer and 9-footer today and that was it. In conditions like this, that is difficult. The pins are tucked, but you still should be able to get at it. My short game probably let me down more than anything today.”

Other than, perhaps, the un-British Open-like weather.

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