Matt Cooper

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The Roundup: DJ challenged

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Recap of the day
Early Movers: Trey Mullinax thrashed an early 5-under-par 65 and that score was shortly afterwards equalled by amateur Braden Thornberry. Chris Kirk shot a 66, the same score he managed in the first round; pity about the 72 in-between. All three vaulted themselves into the top ten (and ties) but remain some way short of contending. 
Leaders: Stewart Cink was pretty much plumb in the middle of the field until he posted a scintillating 64 which was matched by Andrew Putnam and both rounds are featured below. Cink's effort lifted him 11 spots on the leaderboard to solo third. Putnam rose just the one place, but he's in a stronger position alongside pre-round leader Dustin Johnson who scored a fine 65. They share a five swing advantage over Cink heading into the final round battle.
Leaderboard: -15 Dustin Johnson, Andrew Putnam, -10 Stewart Cink, -9 Ricky Werenski, Wesley Bryan
Low round of the day: Cink and Putnam with their 64s
Sunday weather forecast
Patchy cloud, but mostly sunny with temperatures in the mid 90s. 24% chance of thunderstorms.
Top 3 after at 54 holes - how they performed
Andrew Putnam - fun times on the greens as he holed four birdie putts from between 11 and 33 feet, and a par putt from 12'3" on 17 was handy too.
Dustin Johnson - six birdies and not one required a putt of over 9'1" as his irons were dialled in. Will feel confident of collecting a second tournament win on Sunday.
Stewart Cink - finding less than half the fairways this week (44.24%) but landing three in four greens in regulation (and 88.89% in round three). A hot putter on Saturday and a hole-in-one thrust him into an outside chance of victory.
Fate of the Favourites
Dustin Johnson 65, 195 - staring down a 19th PGA Tour victory and first since the first week of the calendar year. 
Brooks Koepka 69, 204 - a third sub-70 round of the week but fighting the long game: Found just five fairways and a mere seven greens in regulation.
Henrik Stenson 66, 205 - six birdies for the Swede, four of them from inside 11 feet, as he shot a 66 to bounce back to form after a flat second round 71.
Phil Mickelson 73, 209 - a horror run around the turn, with three bogeys and one double bogey in seven holes from the seventh; -2.496 in SG: Putting on Saturday. Dropped a 73-foot chip at the 12th.
Revised outright betting: D. Johnson 4/11, Putnam 5/2, Cink 33/1, Bryan 50/1, Werenski 66/1, Reavie 80/1

Wesley Bryan: "With a player like Dustin Johnson, a player of his caliber out front, you can't expect him to go backwards. Going to have to go out there, make a lot of birdies and hopefully he doesn't stretch too far out in front and come the back nine hopefully have a chance."

Stewart Cink: "This week I really haven't driven it that well and that's usually a key here. Normally you have to drive it really well to succeed here. But my iron shots have been good when I'm in the fairway and I've managed myself out of the rough really, really well. You've got to be careful with a hole-in-one because something like that happens, it can actually shock your system a little bit and it can throw your focus off."

Andrew Putnam: "It's going to feel a little different than the typical Sunday round of golf, but I'm excited for it. I've earned my way here and I feel like it's going to be a fun day. See what happens."

Dustin Johnson: "The only two really bad shots, I hit two bad drives on both the par 5s, I just kind of pulled both of them, that was it. Other than that, I'm really swinging my irons well, I hit those really great. I felt like I controlled the distance very well, hit it close a lot of times out there today to some tough flags. But I got a lot of confidence in the golf swing right now."

Road to Victory at TPC Southwind
2017 – Daniel Berger R1: 48th, R2: 34th, R3: 9th
2016 – Daniel Berger R1: 10th, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2015 – Fabian Gomez R1: 8th, R2: 4th, R3: 1st
2014 – Ben Crane R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2013 – Harris English R1: 1st, R2: 1st, R3: 2nd
Notes: Going further back, the trend continues because the last 20 winners have been T9 or better at the conclusion of the third round. Perhaps equally crucial is that 19 of the 20 were within three shots of the lead. 14 of the 20 were T3 or better. It would be something of a surprise of that changes this week.
Fate of the 54-hole Leaders at at TPC Southwind - where did they finish?
2017 - Rafa Cabrera Bello - 4th, Stewart Cink 10th, Ben Crane 10th
2016 - Daniel Berger - winner
2015 - Fabian Gomez - winner, Greg Owen - 2nd
2014 - Ben Crane - winner
2013 - Shawn Stefani - 7th
Notes: In the last 20 years nine 54-hole leaders have gone on to complete the win.
Focus on - Retief Goosen
A week ahead of his "defense" of the U.S. Open (he was the last winner at Shinnecock Hills back in 2004) how does his game look? Being brutal about it, he hasn't had a top ten anywhere in the world since he was T2 in last year's Puerto Rico Open, but he does have four top 20s in the year. He has a good shot at making it five on Sunday as he currently sits T29 on 3-under after rounds of 67-72-68. In round three he found 12 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens in regulation.
Focus on - Dustin Johnson
How clinical is the 33-year-old with a lead? He's had 13 leads with 18 holes to play in his career and converted the win six times, but five of those were when he was the sole leader, rather than sharing. He's also blown a few big leads, most notably six shots in last November's World Golf Championship HSBC Champions (six shots) and the 2010 U.S. Open (three shots). In four previous round four laps of TPC Southwind he averages a very fine 66.50.
Focus on - Andrew Putnam
New territory for the 29-year-old, who has never before led a PGA Tour event heading into the final lap. He does, however, possess a fine record from this position on the Tour. Admittedly the sample size is small, but he is 2-for-2. In the 2014 WNB Classic he led by one and completed a seven swing victory, then last year he lost a one stroke 54-hole lead before winning in a play-off. Some second visit to Southwind after shooting 74-80 on debut in 2015.

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