Ryan Palmer leads going into final round - click for more photos
Conditions today were the toughest they’ve been all week out here at the TPC Four Seasons and the HP Byron Nelson Championship. The “Texas” winds were stronger than the previous two days, blowing right in the face of the players for the last four holes. By the way, is a wind just as fast in MPH wise as a Texas wind as strong? Don’t ask a Texan if you want an unbiased answer.
The two leaders, Sergio Garcia and Ryan Palmer started the day off at -8. The tough conditions would take their toll on both players. Garcia carded a four over 74, while Ryan Palmer edged him by one shot with a 73.
The conditions were so tough that no player in the field went without a bogey, and 3 out of the top 10 players on the leaderboard at the end of the 3rd round shot rounds under par. Winds gusted up to 36 yesterday and while on the course I felt that today’s winds were noticeably stronger.
Amateur Jordan Spieth a big story again
17 year old Dallas amateur Jordan Spieth will be missing his high school graduation ceremonies tonight, to stay rested and prepared for tomorrow’s final round. Spieth actually outscored Garcia and Palmer today by 2 and 1 shot respectively. Spieth is currently tied for 8th place at -1, just four shots off the lead. In tough conditions anything can happen, and Spieth could create one of the biggest stories in recent golf history with a win.
Sergio Garcia's putting is greatly improved - click for more
I was all over the course today following many groups. Of course I did spend the most time with the leaders but I spent some quality time following the likes of Matt Kuchar, Gary Woodland and Chris DiMarco. I followed the leading players for most of the back nine, managing to get some killer positions like on #11 where I was literally 15 feet from the pin. Of course I snapped more pictures and uploaded over 100 of them to the HOG HP Byron Nelson Championship image gallery. Check it out.
I’ve been walking all over this hilly course in highly humid conditions with the temps nearly 100 degrees. Last night I had a hint of heat stroke. I managed to hydrate myself better today and stay out of the heat a little better as well. No headache, but do have a blister on the right foot.
I wanted to finish up here in the media center and head out for good ole Texas BBQ somewhere, but I decided to eat and blog at the same time so I can get back to my room early and rest for the big day tomorrow. I’m greatly looking forward to it.
As I knock on wood, I’m hoping that for the billionth time this season the tour does NOT enter a playoff. That would really screw up my outgoing flight to Vegas tomorrow night.
Sergio Garcia and Ryan Palmer are atop the leaderboard here at the HP Byron Nelson Championship at -8, a three shot lead over Tim Petrovic and Scott Piercy.
Ryan Palmer’s ball striking is putting him in close proximity to the hole, where he has been performing very well. His short game has been excellent when he does miss greens and he hasn’t had to many long putts or putts from the incorrect quadrants.
Sergio Garcia is striking the ball well as usual, but his putting is as good as I’ve seen it. He made some clutch par putts and sand saves in windy conditions yesterday as well as chipping in from 45 feet on the 15th green for birdie.
Friday Byron Nelson Championship Leader Board – click read more if you can’t see it.
That last two nights I’ve been in the press room until the wee hours. But tonight I don’t have time this moment to write my daily comments about the action. I’ve got an appointment with some Golf Space and HOG followers with some BBQ and frosty beverages. Show me some of that Texas BBQ.
So I’ll quickly post a shot which tells the story for Sergio Garcia today, short game.
Sergio Garcia blasts out of the sand on #14 - Click for more images
Sergio got up and down from the sand on 14, 16 and 18 and I was right there to witness all the shots. 14 was impressive. Sergio also putted as well as I’ve ever seen him putt.
If I’m still conscious after the BBQ and frosty beverages, I’ll chime in on the day’s play and upload a zillion photos.
Sergio answers questions...
Being a golf blogger can be tough sometimes. We aren’t taken seriously by certain entities sometimes, like “journalists” or organizations of professional golfers, if you know what I mean. I had one “journalist” tell me that since I was a blogger I didn’t know how to spell and I didn’t have to check my facts. All I had to do with that rude person was let him know that my traffic numbers beat his by over 3 million hits per month.
The popularity of blogs and social networking is real and we ought not be ignored. The pull and exposure some of the popular blogs have could crush the stats of some of the more “traditional” media outlets. Perhaps that is why some of them are rude. They’re afraid.
As a blogger I don’t have a sports network paying my bills and therefore I don’t get to many tour events. I hope to get to more in the future but finding a budget to do that is tough.
Here’s a newbie alert now that I’ve made all these preliminary statements. I just attended my first PGA Tour press conference ever. Yes, my training wheels are coming off. The presser featured Sergio Garcia as the player.
Garcia talked about the infected finger and how it forced him out of the British Open qualifier on Monday, as well as talking about the course and the HP Byron Nelson tournament. But the best moment was when a reporter accidentally addressed Sergio as “Seve” (Ballesteors) following some conversation about the late golf great.
Can Garcia scratch his way into the British or U.S. Open?
In order to be eligible for the BRITISH (not U.S.) OPEN, Sergio Garcia must go through the qualification process because his world ranking is currently not high enough for automatic entry. That qualification round was to take place today.
Garcia withdrew from his qualifier this morning due to an infected fingernail.
“Unfortunately had to wd from qualifier this morning because of an infected fingernail in my left hand. Couldn’t hold the club comfortably even after 5 holes. Hopefully I’ll be fine for Thursday at the (Byron) Nelson! Sorry guys.” ~Sergio Garcia via Twitter
A fingernail can derail a world class player’s chances to play in the Open. Speechless.