Recap of the day
Early Movers: Three significant low rounds, starting with 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen thrashing a 66 to total 5-under 208, a number soon equalled by Nick Taylor (67). But both were eclipsed by Jason Kokrak who flew home with a wet-sail to complete a hole-in-one and a 66 of his own for 7-under 206.
Leaders: Luke Donald maintained his fine week with a second successive 70 to reach 6-under, and Scott Stallings soon joined him on that mark. Meanwhile Dustin Johnson bettered Kokrak’s clubhouse target with a 67 for 8-under 205 before Paul Casey confirmed that he will take a one shot lead into Sunday. A bogey at the final hole, however, meant his advantage will be just the one shot, as he carded a 68 for 9-under 204.
Low round of the day: Oosthuizen and Kokrak with 66
Revised outright betting: 5/4 Johnson, 2/1 Casey, Kokrak 7/1, Furyk 22/1, Oosthuizen 25/1, Donald 25/1, Stallings 25/1, Cook 33/1
Sunday weather forecast
Cloudy in the morning, with the skies clearing for the afternoon. The forecast predicts no rain, little but an 8mph breeze and temperatures in the low 70s.
Leaders after at 54 holes
Paul Casey (68, 204) – An exhibition of long game skills so far this week as he ranks first for SG: Tee to Green (10.059) and third for SG: Approach the Green (5.917). Interesting putting stat contrast: T3 for Putts per GIR (1.600) and 30th for SG: Putting (1.428).
Dustin Johnson (67, 205) – A solid combo this week, including T1 for Sand Saves (3-for-3), T2 for Greens in Regulation (36 of 54), fifth for SG: Tee to Green (6.511) and seventh for SG: Putting (3.976).
Jason Kokrak (66, 206) – Was 1-over through six holes, then birdied four of the next eight holes before adding a hole-in-one at the 15th. Ranks second for SG: Putting (6.283).
Luke Donald (70, 207) – Birdied the first and last holes, 15 pars and on bogey in-between. Ranks third for SG: Around the Greens (4.351) and eighth for SG: Tee to Green (5.688).
Scott Stallings (70, 207) – A nutty round which saw its first par at the ninth and second at the 12th. In all, made seven birdies, four bogeys and one double bogey. Ranks first for Greens in Regulation (1.548).
Fate of the Favourites
Dustin Johnson – see above
Jon Rahm (72, 211) – Three-stabbed 16 for a bogey and hacked his way down 18 in making a double bogey-6. Finding just 6 of 13 fairways didn’t help and has been a week-long hindrance (19 of 39).
Jason Day – missed cut
Sergio Garcia (72, 215) – His long game has headed in the wrong direction all week: Fairways found (9-7-7), Greens in Regulation (10-10-9).
Louis Oosthuizen (66) – “I wasn't expecting anything like that after the way I was swinging it yesterday and barely making the cut, I had to really fight to be in this tournament or be or play on the weekend. Yesterday was probably the worst display of ball striking I've ever done. I needed something like this just to get me back on track again.”
Jason Kokrak (66) – “I kind of struggled around the front. Didn't hit very many good tee shots with the driver. But settled in, hit some quality iron shots coming in. I like this golf course. It's a good, hard golf course, there's nothing quirky about it.”
Jim Furyk (68) – “I think physically my game's there. It's been a long time since I've really got in the hunt, so I had the juices flowing last week and mentally I think I was a little worn out and I think that showed a little bit maybe in my careless mistakes yesterday.”
Luke Donald (70) – “I’m not too far back. You kind of always have a chance around this place even being four, five, even six back, it's happened before; this is a tough course to kind of lead out.”
Dustin Johnson (67) – “I feel like I got a good game plan for the golf course. I'm not going to change it, just try to go out, play my game and see how low I can shoot, which is what I do every day, I'm not going to do anything different.”
Road to Victory at Innisbrook
2018 Paul Casey – R1: 8th, R2: 2nd, R3: 11th
2017 Adam Hadwin – R1: 12th, R2: 1st, R3: 1st
2016 Charl Schwartzel – R1: 25th, R2: 15th, R3: 8th
2015 Jordan Spieth – R1: 38th, R2: 2nd, R3: 2nd
2014 John Senden – R1: 45th, R2: 35th, R3: 3rd
Notes: Nine of the 18 winners here were leading (or sharing) the lead at this stage and all but three of them were top five. However, two of those exceptions, as shown above, were in the last three years.
Fate of the 54-hole Leaders at Innisbrook – where did they finish?
2018 Corey Connors 16th
2017 Adam Hadwin 1st
2016 Bill Haas 2nd
2015 Ryan Moore 5th
2014 Robert Garrigus 4th
Notes: For a long while the 54-hole leaders had a strong record here. From K.J. Choi in 2002 until Jim Furyk in 2010 there were 11 men holding or sharing an advantage at this stage and seven of them earned the win. Since then the third round leaders are 2-for-11.
Focus on – Paul Casey with a Lead
If this feels a little familiar it’s because it’s only six weeks since the Englishman found himself in this very position when leading the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am by three swings with 18 holes to play. That week he was bettered in the last lap by Phil Mickelson and afterward sounded rather Mickelson-like when raving: “It’s been a treat this week, I got an up-front close look at Phil shooting a great round of golf and winning this golf event.” Perhaps, if he heeds the lesson, he can turnaround his recent record of leading on the PGA Tour at this stage. The first time it happened, in the 2009 Houston Open, he shared the lead and won after a play-off. The last four times? He has led by three, two, four and three shots; he’s carded rounds of 73, 73, 72 and 71; he didn’t any of them. (Dustin Johnson is 5-for-13 on the PGA Tour when chasing from second after 54 holes.)
Focus on – Louis Oosthuizen
All this week The Roundup has been casting an eye ahead to the first major championship of the year and having assessed the chance of five golfers who have recently thrived at Augusta National, how timely that Louis Oosthuizen should shoot through the field early on Saturday. He is best remembered for finishing second in the 2012 Masters (bettered in a play-off by Bubba Watson), but he also boasts three top 20s in the last four years. Seven years ago his route to Georgia began with a rush of top tens late in 2011, he ticked a win on home soil, his form went a little backward after New Year, but T20 here at Innisbrook turned that around. Sound familiar? He had four top tens late last year, won the South African Open, hasn’t enjoyed a great few weeks Stateside, and now looks like he is moving through the gears. Take note.