Simpson charges two clear
Webb Simpson whisked up a magical finish to surge into the lead in Saturday’s third round of the Wyndham Championship.
Webb Simpson whisked up a magical finish to surge into a two-shot lead in Saturday’s third round of the US PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship
The fresh-faced American young gun posted four birdies and an eagle over the last six holes at the Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, to shoot a blistering 64 for a three round total of 15-under-par 195.
That put him two clear of overnight leader Tommy Gainey, who fired a 69 on a day when play was halted for more than an hour because of rain and the threat of lightening.
Sweden’s Carl Pettersson, the only non-American in the top five, was tied for third at 12-under with John Mallinger, one ahead of Daniel Summerhays.
Five players, including South Africa’s multiple major winners, Retief Goosen and Ernie Els, were tied together, a shot further back, five shots of the pace at 10-under.
Although they will probably have lift themselves on the leaderboard on Sunday if they are going to qualify for the FedEx Cup play-offs starting next week, Els and Goosen are still strongly positioned to do so, but fellow major winner Padraig Harrington’s FedEx Cup hopes would seem to be over.
A one-under 69 on Saturday took him to 4-under and left him trailing Simpson by all of 14 shots
Simpson dropped two shots early in his round that gave no hint of what was to come – that the 26-year-old would shrug away his slow start in no uncertain terms with his spectacular charge down the back nine late in the afternoon after the weather delay
“You’ve got to really stay patient around this golf course, because bogeys are pretty quick to happen out here with the rough and the undulating greens,” Simpson said.
“I told myself to be patient and let the birdies come. It took them a while to get there, but (I) finally made a few coming in.”
Simpson birdied the 13th, sank a 32-foot birdie putt on the 14th, made an eagle at the par-15th after his second stopped five feet from the hole and then birdied the 16th and 17th as he carded six shots in just five holes.
And it so easily have been seven in six holes if his birdie attempt at 18 hadn’t been two inches short.
“Probably one of my top birdie-eagle streaks that I’ve had,” said Simpson,”and it came at a better time than any other streak I’ve had, just because we had not been getting anything going all day and everybody else seemed to be taking it low.”
“I’d much rather finish the round that way than start that way. If at all possible, we’ll start that way (Sunday).”
Gainey also had a disappointing start to his day with two early bogeys that cost him his overnight lead, but he fought back and is still in contention heading into Sunday’s final round.
“I guess one word sums it up – frustrating,” Gainey said.
“The only positive thing that I can take from it right now, is I still have a chance to win the golf tournament.”
Pettersson began the day seven strokes back, but climbed the leaderboard with a 63, the best score of the round.
“It’s nice to put myself back in the tournament, but I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.
“Today I’ve done my bit and I’ve probably got to go a low tomorrow again.”
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