With a six-shot lead and an 11-under score, it just seemed too good to be true for Ricky Barnes. And it was. His lead was quickly erased once he hit the back nine in the third round. Lucas Glover was seemingly breathing down his neck the entire day and by the end of play today, Glover gained a couple strokes and is now tied for the lead with Barnes at 7-under.
Image Courtesy of the Baltimore Sun
Barnes just didn’t look comfortable today. Many of his tee shots landed in the weeds and he missed some easy putts to save par and sustain his lead. Glover, who is known for his inability to finish, is playing with the swagger and confidence that Barnes has played with all tournament. But luckily for Barnes, play was suspended due to lack of daylight and it came just in time for a guy who looks like he’s fading fast. Maybe an overnight relaxation session is what he needs to get him back on track.
Phil Mickelson is on the complete opposite end of that spectrum and has been gaining steam as the tournament has advanced into the later rounds. His bogey on the 15th hole in the third round seemed to be a crucial mistake for someone trying to gain some ground on the leaders. But what did Phil do? He came right back on the 16th hole and hit an amazing putt to birdie the hole and put him at 1-under. To me, that shot was the shot of the tournament and a crucial turning point for the fan favorite. Just his reaction alone told the story of a guy whose had to deal with so many personal issues and emotional rollercoasters of the past few days. If nothing else, it was a sign of relief for him and yet another confidence booster that makes him believe that he can win this tournament. And when a guy like Phil sinks those shots, the rest of the field better watch out.
Tiger, on the other hand, isn’t fairing too well. He is currently at even-par through seven holes in the final round, but he hasn’t been playing particularly well. But you can never count out Tiger Woods. He’s got 11 holes to go to try and chip away at the lead and if the co-leaders Barnes and Glover bogey some holes, Tiger could be right back in it. I don’t think it’s likely that he wins the tournament, but I do think he’ll at least finish in the top-5.
Play is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Monday, that is, if the rain holds up. The forecast doesn’t look too promising as of now, but we’ll have to wait and see what tomorrow brings. The pressure is mounting and this is where we find out who can overcome their mental demons and pull out a win. I just hope we see a winner crowned sometime tomorrow and not later this week. If we’re lucky, we’ll see a emotionally driven Phil Mickelson make a miraculous comeback and bring home the trophy for his wife. It’s somewhat of a longshot, but you can’t fault me for wishful thinking!