Recap of the day
Early play: There wasn’t any! A first tweet from PGA TOUR Communications: “Due to strong thunderstorms in the area this morning, the start of round three @attbyronnelson has been delayed for two hours until 11:04 a.m. #pgatour.” And then: “Due to ongoing inclement weather, the start of the third round has been delayed four hours @attbyronnelson. The third round will now begin at 1:04 p.m.” And finally: “The start of the third round will be delayed an additional two hours from our last update @attbyronnelson. Tee times will now begin 3:04 p.m.
Afternoon play: Heading out in three-balls with preferred lies being utilized, play did indeed finally get started at 3:04pm. Sam Burns didn’t waste any time, starting his round eagle-birdie-birdie, while Joey Garber raced to the turn in 30 blows after six birdies in his opening eight holes. By end of day, Garber played through 15 holes at 7-under-par. The star of the show appeared shortly after as Nicholas Lindheim did Garber one better on the outward nine and circled three more right after the turn. Lindheim was 9-under thru 15 when the horn sounded. He just needs one more to match the course record and two more to set a new one. During all that, Matt Every was slowly chipping away at Sung Kang's lead and will now head into Sunday as the solo leader. They have 27 holes remaining and round three resume at 07:30 local.
Sunday weather forecast
Good news. The sun is set to poke its head out at 7am and should be around for the rest of Sunday. With it comes improved temperatures and the mercury should rise to the high 70s by mid/late afternoon. Winds are light at around 6-7mph.
Matt Every (-18 thru 9) – Cut Kang's four-shot lead in half with a hole-out eagle from 97 feet at the first and went past him with further birdies at 4, 5, 6 and 8, turning in 6-under 30. Ranks 1st in both SG: Tee-To-Green and SG: Around-The-Green to this point.
Sung Kang (-17 thru 9) – With birdies flying everywhere, the overnight leader rather dawdled. He found just two and added in a bogey at 8 to reach the turn in 35 before the horn blew. Result? He's now chasing. Fourth in SG: Putting after 45 holes.
Tyler Duncan (-15 thru 9) – Slow start but birdied 5, 6 and 8 for an outward 33. Finished this truncated day a shot nearer the lead than when he started it.
Fate of the favourites
Brooks Koepka (-12 thru 10) – Birdie-birdie start and Koepka's gradual and ominous rise to top spot continued. But then he faltered. Four pars, six swishes at the par-5 6th, three more pars and the day ended with the pre-tourney fave down three spots and six off the lead.
Hideki Matsuyama (-8 thru 14) – Four birdies against a bogey in the 14 holes he played but Matsuyama just hasn't been able to keep pace this week and is now down in T35. 72nd in SG: Putting highlights the problem.
Jordan Spieth (-10 thru 11) – The local man has faltered badly after the cut this season but this was okay. Three birdies and eight pars took him to double digits under although that was still a fall of six places to T16. Ranks 9th for SG: Putting so far and T2 in birdies.
Matt Every (leads at -18, -6 for 9 holes played) – “I mean it was like a normal round of golf for me. Felt like it was playing super easy so it wasn't like I had time to be nervous about anything. I just needed to keep making birdies. But I got into a rhythm. Didn't have to wait on the group in front of us once, I think, which was kind of nice. It's not really my game. I'm a little happier right now than I have been in the past. Just life is a little better than it has been."
Sung Kang (-17, -1 for 9 holes played) – “The good thing is, positive thing is we only play nine holes and I made a couple mistakes I shouldn't have. We know how to adjust tomorrow. Just play like the last couple days and it will be just fine tomorrow."
Nicholas Lindheim (-12, -9 for 15 holes played) – “Soft conditions, obviously with all the rain we've had but, you know, I made some putts. I figured a little something out on the range after last night's round. I found something that clicked. I had it going pretty good at Canterbury when I won there on the Web Tour (2017 DAP Championship), shot 29 on the front nine. Hit a lot of quality shots. The golf course is out there for the taking."
Road to victory at Trinity Forest
2018 Aaron Wise – R1: 4th, R2: 2nd, R3: 1st
Notes: Wise had reduced Marc Leishman’s four-shot Thursday lead by outscoring him 63 to 66 in round two and, in the third lap at Trinity Forest, the American pulled level with a 68 to the Aussie’s 69. Wise would go on to win by three after closing with a 65 on Sunday.
Fate of the 54-hole leaders at Trinity Forest – where did they finish?
Notes: Wise and Leishman had pulled four shots clear of the field by Saturday night, both men reaching 17-under. Kevin Na and Matt Jones were their nearest challengers at -13. The two leaders did go on to finish first and second but J.J. Spaun, Keith Mitchell and Branden Grace all pulled to within a shot of runner-up Leishman.
Focus on – Jordan Spieth
Spieth's weekend struggles have been well documented this season and the numbers really do paint the picture well.
R1 scoring average: 38th (70.00)
R2 scoring average: 3rd (68.45)
R3 scoring average: 202nd (72.25)
R4 scoring average: 207th (73.38)
Spieth has certainly moved on 'Moving Day' but, unfortunately, a long way south. The evidence was only limited today due to the weather but at least he played the 11 holes possible in 3-under and without a bogey. After a third-round 69 at The Masters, he may be slowly turning the tide.
Focus on – Bethpage clues (SG: Tee-To-Green)
A stat to bear in mind for next week’s PGA Championship. Five of the last seven PGA winners had finished in the top three for SG: Tee-To-Green in their previous start. That’s a helluva stat so let’s fill in some detail given that it should be highly relevant at Bethpage Black where long game counts for plenty when analysing the numbers of the four winners there, Tiger Woods, Lucas Glover, Nick Watney and Patrick Reed.
SG: Tee-To-Green leaders at Quail Hollow
SG: Tee-To-Green leaders at Hilton Head
Of course, there were no official Strokes Gained numbers for The Masters but the following list may be helpful. It’s led by Tiger, who ranked 1st with 80.6%.
Top ten for GIR at Augusta National
We’ll reveal the final SG numbers from Trinity Forest this week in Mo Yoshimoto’s Monday column, The Takeaway.