Molder, Davis tied for lead at Crowne Plaza
Monday, January 31, 2011
FORT WORTH, Texas – Brian Davis is seemingly done penalizing himself. And now he gets another chance to challenge for his first PGA Tour victory.
After a second consecutive bogey-free 65 Saturday, Davis shares the lead with Bryce Molder at 16-under 194 going into the final round of the Colonial.
When Davis got into a playoff last month at Hilton Head with Jim Furyk, Davis called a two-stroke penalty against himself on the extra hole that ensured a victory for the fifth-ranked player in the world. Davis then finished 57th the following week at New Orleans and had missed three consecutive cuts before Colonial.
“What happened during the playoff threw me off balance a little bit. I lost my focus. ... Missing three cuts in a row, I wasn’t exactly happy coming in,” Davis said. “I’ve had to adjust my thinking a little bit. Not everybody can play well every week. You have to take the rough with the smooth some times.”
The 35-year-old Englishman and Molder, the second-round leader who finished his 67 Saturday with eight consecutive pars, are hoping for a little plaid to signify finally winning on the PGA Tour. The Colonial champion gets a plaid jacket along with a check of more than $1 million.
Molder has four top-10s this season, but the four-time All-American from Georgia Tech has only one professional victory since leaving college in 2001 – on the Nationwide Tour in 2006.
It was another hot but ideal scoring day at Hogan’s Alley, where there again were only light breezes. The forecast Sunday calls for nearly identical conditions.
“I don’t know if Fort Worth has seen four calmer days in a row,” said Molder, who expects the winning score to be at least 20 under. That would break Kenny Perry’s tournament-record mark of 19 under, which he set when winning in 2003 and 2005.
There are 17 players at 11 under or better going into the final round this year.
“I have no illusions about (Sunday),” Davis said.
Zach Johnson (64) was a stroke behind the leaders. Ben Crane (64) joined first-round co-leaders Jeff Overton (66) and Jason Bohn (68) in a tie for fourth at 14 under.
“This is a golfer’s dream to have the wind lay down like this,” Crane said. “Certainly this one of the best courses in the world and the greens are receptive.”
Crane got to 14 under when he made an eagle from 143 yards at the par-4 17th hole. He had a hole-in-one Friday.
Molder shot a career-best 62 Friday to take the halfway lead, then set another personal mark Saturday with nine consecutive one-putts. He made putts ranging from 4 to 34 feet from hole Nos. 2-11, a stretch that included five birdies and a double bogey.
Then on the closing 441-yard 18th hole, Molder slid a 10-foot birdie try just past the cup.
Davis, who hasn’t had a bogey since the ninth hole in the opening round, needed a couple of save shots Saturday.
At the par-5 11th, Davis made a 16-foot par putt after hitting from a fairway bunker to the rough and then over the green. He overcame a bad chip at the 430-yard 15th hole with a 21-foot par-saver. When he hit his second shot of the day from a fairway bunker and then went over the green at the only other par 5, he pitched to 2 feet on No. 1.
Johnson had birdies on both backside par 3s, making a 22-footer at No. 13, then an 8-footer at No. 16. He made a 4-foot birdie putt at No. 18 to get to 15 under.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut and a chance at being the No. 1 player in the world, so he wasn’t around for the Colonial’s second “Pink Out” to raise awareness of breast cancer. Hogan’s Alley was swathed Saturday in pink – from the clothing worn by most golfers, officials and spectators to signs and ribbons.
The first “Pink Out” was during the third round a year ago when Mickelson wasn’t here to defend his 2008 title soon after finding out his wife, Amy, had breast cancer. Weeks after that, he found out his mother also had the disease.
Mickelson said he would be wearing pink at home Saturday in San Diego while spending the weekend with his family. Amy Mickelson’s birthday is Monday.
K.J. Choi teed off at No. 18 with a chance to match the course record of 61 with a birdie, but instead had a quadruple-bogey 8. He hit his tee shot into the rough, flubbed his first chance to get out and then hit the next into the water. The 40-year-old South Korean knocked his drop through the green, chipped another one off the green and finally made an 8-foot putt.
“Everything went all right before that hole,” Choi said through an interpreter. “I knew that was a tough hole. In my mind, I thought bogey would be good. But things didn’t go right.”
At about the same time Choi was struggling at No. 18, Molder was sinking a 34-foot putt at No. 8, his second consecutive birdie getting him to 15 under. That stretch also made up for a double bogey at the 481-yard No. 5, when he hit his approach to the par 4 out of bounds.
DIVOTS: New to this year’s “Pink Out,” title sponsor Crowne Plaza pledged donations for each birdie and eagle during the third round. Bolstered by six eagles on par 4s, that netted $36,600 for Susan G. Komen For The Cure. ... The only player over par through three rounds is Ian Poulter, the No. 6 player in the world. A 73 on Saturday put him at 1 over. Fourth-ranked Steve Stricker, the defending Colonial champ, and No. 8 Paul Casey are both 8 under. ... Another hole-in-one at No. 13: Paul Goydos aced the hole with a 5-iron from 195 yards.
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