Tour blog: Toms stumbles in third round
Saturday, May 21, 2011
FORT WORTH, Texas – Just like that, the runaway is a close race at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. That’s because David Toms went from cruise control to hitting a few speed bumps Saturday in the third round.
Toms started the day at 16 under and with a seven-stroke lead over four players after a 62-62–124 that equaled the best 36-hole start on Tour since 1970. But he bogeyed Nos. 2, 3 and 6 after not hitting greens in regulation and his advantage slipped to three strokes on Mark Wilson.
Toms slipped to 13 under and his edge dwindled to one stroke over Charlie Wie when the frontrunner double-bogeyed 14. Playoff loser Sunday at The Players, Toms drove into right rough, found a bunker short right of the green, blasted to 7 feet and three-putted. He missed a 3-footer comebacker.
His blunder came just before play was suspended at 4:19 p.m. because of dangerous weather. Play was set to resume at 5:45.
The delay may have come at the right time for Toms. It served as a timeout and perhaps an opportunity to settle down.
Normally you can’t call timeouts in golf. But this seemed like a decent time for a break for the leader.
8:15 p.m. update
OK, check that. The timeout didn’t do David Toms much good.
One hole after the 1 hour, 20-minute weather delay, Toms bogeyed the par-3 16th while closest pursuer Charlie Wi birdied it. The two-stroke swing dropped Toms to 12 under par and one stroke behind Wi after three rounds.
Wi shot 66 and Toms 74 on a day when wind blew 15-20 mph and pins were trickier than on the first two days. Just like that a seven-shot lead became a one-stroke deficit.
“I felt like I was hanging on all day,” Toms said. “Maybe I started thinking about it. I didn’t feel as confident, didn’t feel in control. That’s a bad feeling, especially when you go from being in total control to ... not feeling as good.”
Toms said he thought he was “off the to races” after a birdie on No. 1 and posing on a 90-yard lob wedge shot into the second. He said he thought he had “stiffed it again,” but his ball spun back into a bunker and he bogeyed.
“Story of the day,” he said. “I lost momentum. ... It can happen fast on this golf course.”
Toms said he thought tournament officials “protected” the course Saturday after his 62-62 start. But he was fine with it.
“It should be tough on the weekend, especially after how a guy ripped up the golf course,” Toms said. “I’d have done the same thing. If I was the club chairman, I’d have gone to the Tour and said I don’t want these guys ripping up the golf course.”
So now Toms is chasing instead of protecting. His approach figures to be different. Maybe his rest, too.
“Maybe I’ll sleep better tonight because I don’t have the lead,” he said. “I’ve been sleeping on the lead for two weeks.”
Now it’s Wi’s turn. It’s his first 54-hole lead on Tour and he’s seeking his first victory. He has finished second three times.
“It’s such a crazy game,” Wi said. “I don’t want to say too much because the game is so fickle.”
Saturday told us so, as if we didn’t know before.