ORLANDO – Graeme McDowell stiffened his approach at 18, chipped in for birdie, and signed for a 3-under 69 at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill & Lodge on the third day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of only seven rounds in the 60s. But it doesn’t mean he wasn’t exhausted following a difficult day on the course, where the third-round scoring average was more than two strokes over par.
He described the course as “a tough golf course with a lot of shots that stress you out.”
McDowell, who lives in the City Beautiful, planned to sit back and watch the rest of the show before firing up the grill and watching the rest of the field get roasted by baked-out greens.
McDowell, who teed off more over three hours ahead of the leaders Saturday, said, “I might have to drink a little less wine than I was intending to.” “It’s tough out there, and it’s not getting any easier.”
Great way to end moving day at Bay Hill! @APInv pic.twitter.com/x7mLNZlFsA
— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) March 5, 2022
McDowell was tied for sixth place at 3 under by the completion of the day. Scores soared as the wind blew. Just ask rookie Hayden Buckley, who shot an 84 and abandoned his putter outside scoring to be recovered by his caddy. At the very least, he managed to finish the round with his short stick. In disgust, Australian Matt Jones threw his into a lake.
“It’s on a knife’s edge,” Rory McIlroy remarked after a 76 at Bay Hill, his worst round of the year, and a three-way tie with McDowell after three rounds. “Over the last five years, we’ve gotten a sense of what to expect when we come here. This appears to be the case only over the weekend. It’s just difficult. It’s difficult not to become frustrated.”
PGA Tour Live on ESPN+: API: Leaderboard | Photos
The greens were frosty, and the rough was US Open length, according to McDowell. With the crosswinds, it was a tragedy waiting to happen.
“It’s almost tough to hit a green if you don’t hit the fairway,” McIlroy remarked.
Billy Horschel was one of the few and proud to score in the red digits, making a 30-foot birdie putt from just off the green at 18 to post 1-under 71 and share the 54-hole lead with Talor Gooch at 7-under 209 after a fortuitous free drop from the rough due to a sprinkler head. Those who took on the challenge, like Horschel, who was the only player in the last eight pairings with a score below par, tended to do better.
“This is really fantastic golf.” He explained, “It’s testing and it wears you down.” “I can’t say we all appreciate it all of the time, but we do because it consistently rewards reasonably decent golf shots.” It rewards players who think through a shot and how it should be played in order for it to turn out properly.”
“It’s a grind,” Gooch continued, “but I think we don’t get this enough on the PGA Tour.” “I believe that’s why we like it when we do get it.” It’s good not to have a week of bird watching. To have a chance, you must be playing your best golf. You can’t pull it off.”
Even when pars grew valuable and birdies became rare, a few players still managed to get into contention.
“It wasn’t fun, but it was the appropriate challenge,” said Max Homa, who shot a 73 with a hole-in-one at the 14th and attested to Scottie Scheffler’s 68, which tied for the low round of the day. “I played alongside one of the finest players in the world, and he played a fantastic round of golf and made it seem easy.”
“You have no chance if you’re out of position, but you put yourself in that position.” So I believe that quality will separate the field into those who played really well, those who performed admirably, those who performed adequately, and those who did not perform admirably. That, in my opinion, is how golf should be played.”
Billy Horschel: first 54-hole lead/co-lead on @PGATOUR since 2014 Tour Championship
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) March 5, 2022
Only 16 of the 78 players who made the cut were in the red after three rounds, according to him. Viktor Hovland appeared to be on the verge of winning the tournament. To compensate for a shaky bogey-bogey start to his third round, the 24-year-old Norwegian hammered out for eagle from 38 yards in a greenside bunker on the par-5 sixth hole.”
I felt like I was in no-man’s-land, so I just tried to smash it out there and make a putt at it. He explained, “I came out pretty soft and landed in the first cut and just died and went in.” “For at least the next few holes, that was really fantastic, and I was really in a good groove until some terrible shots on the back nine.”
After a birdie at No. 8, he was 10 under for the event and four strokes ahead of Gooch at the turn. That was his final birdie of the day, and he finished with four bogeys on his inward card, including two bogeys on the final two holes, for a total of 75 and a one-shot deficit to the co-leaders.
“To be honest, not really,” Hovland said when asked if he enjoys playing in a tournament where single digits could be enough to win on Sunday and score his first triumph on American soil. I believe we’ve reached a point where everything has become a scrambling competition. As I’ve already stated, it is not my strong suit. But what I think is cool is that I’m able to be in contention in a tournament despite the fact that the circumstances aren’t exactly in my favor.”
Horschel, who was born and reared in Grant-Valkaria, Florida, roughly 90 minutes from Bay Hill, said he expected an emotional day on Sunday, especially if he wore the winner’s red alpaca sweater.
“It would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” You mentioned that you grew up an hour away, that you came here as a kid, and that you caddied in the Pro-Am several times. He said, “There’s a lot of family and friend support around here.” “You then add Arnold Palmer’s name on it.” It would be something remarkable to be able to say at the conclusion of my career that I had a memorable victory.”
Leave a Reply