Saturday is traditionally moving day, but many golfers were moving the wrong direction at TPC Sawgrass, starting with Tiger Woods.
He bogeyed the second, third and eighth holes and was birdie-less until the 12th. Woods tried to save his round on the back side with three birdies, including one at the island 17th, where he suffered a quadruple bogey on Friday. The damage was done, however. Unless a dozen or more players fall on their 3-irons and he shoots a new course record on Sunday, his tournament is over. He’s at 3-under par.
“I got it back to even par,” Woods said after his round. “I thought that was a good goal after being 3-over through eight.”
He said he fought hard. He posted a 72.
Brooks Koepka had a “Jekyll and Hyde” streak going. He birdied the first, but doubled both the fourth and fifth holes. Winning golf is all about avoiding the big numbers and being consistent, but Koepka looked like he was playing football, trying to rack up a bigger score instead of a smaller one. After another double bogey at the 10th, the real Brooks Koepka showed up and delivered an eagle with some accompanying birdies, including one at the difficult 18th. He posted a 73, 10 shots higher than the course record he shot last year in the final round.
Keegan Bradley had a wild front nine that ended up not hurting him all that much. He went bogey, bogey, par, birdie, bogey, par, birdie, birdie, birdie, for a 35. At least he got it smoothed out the end of nine holes. His back nine was even better, a 33. He shot 68 when it looked like he might shoot 78.
Patton Kizzire had a horrendous day on the course. He started with two bogeys and added a double at the sixth for a 40 on the front. Things were strange on the back side. He started with a double and, immediately afterward, made birdie at the 11th. The last two holes were not his friends, either. He finished double bogey, bogey. He posted a 79, the highest score in the field.
Kevin Na, paired with Tiger Woods on Saturday, had a plain disastrous first nine holes, going bogey, bogey, bogey, double, to start the round. He shot a 78, the second-highest round on Saturday. Later in the round, he eagled the 16th, but it was not enough to save his score.
Perhaps the biggest Saturday surprise was Ian Poulter, who started three back of the leaders and shot 40 on the front nine. It included a birdie on the second, a bogey on the third, a triple on the fourth and two more bogeys to close out the nine. No doubt he was reaching for inspiration as he headed to the back side.
On the plus side, Seamus Power, from Waterford, Ireland, had a hole-in-one at the third, from 155 yards, and he bought beer for the media. He is the second PGA TOUR player to treat the media to beer in two weeks. At the Arnold Palmer Invitational, D.A. Points also treated the press to a few brews after a hole-in-one.
On Sunday, with the wind expected to be up and the rain expected to come down, who knows what will happen with scoring. Today, there was a 15-shot spread, from the 64 by Jon Rahm to the 79 by Patton Kizzire. Sunday? It’s anybody’s guess.