Weir leads but much still at stake
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2008 Deutsche Bank Championship | Round Three | 01 Sep 2008
Mike Weir leads the Deutsche Bank Championship into tomorrow’s final round after a final hole birdie at the TPC Boston in today’s third round of the second FedEx Cup playoff, saw him move one ahead of Colombian, Camilo Villegas. This event is the only one on the PGA Tour schedule with a scheduled Monday finish due to the Labour Day weekend in the US.
Weir has played well in recent months including a 7th place finish last week at the Barclays and a 5th at the Canadian Open where he typically plays under perhaps the greatest scrutiny of any event all year given his nationality. Weir’s stunning opening round of 61 this week has been the main reason for the lead he currently enjoys.
Villegas had set the mark for the field to chase over the closing stages of round three when his near faultless round of 63 swept him to the lead before Weir responded. Villegas is still looking for his first PGA Tour victory but a recent 4th place finish at the PGA Championship and now this great position he has created for himself suggests it will not be long before he breaks through. It might be just 24 hours away.
Not that going low at this course is unusual for Villegas. He recorded an opening round of 63 in the event last year and led by two at that point. Villegas recorded only 22 putts today including just four over the last five holes.
“I listened to Vijay last week in his interview, and obviously although not the best putter in the world, he is a good putter and a great player,” said Villegas after his round. “You get the media here that talks, oh, he’s not a great putter and then somebody tells him he’s not a great putter and then all of a sudden it just gets in your head. He decided to tell himself that he’s the best putter in the world, and this worked last week.”
“It’s been a little bit similar in my case. You read a little bit, oh, he’s not a great putter and he missed those short ones and he missed here and he missed there, and starting this year I decided to tell myself something similar to what Vijay told himself last week, that I’m a great putter and that I’m a lot better than people think and people write. So today was a good reflection, and if you look at my putting stats for the year, I’m one of the great putters on Tour.”
Last week’s main protagonists, Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia have set up an opportunity for the pair to again fight out another finish tomorrow as they are at 14 under and just three behind Weir.
Ben Crane, Ernie Els and Jim Furyk are not out of it either at 13 under.
Stuart Appleby is the best of the Australians in what has been a generally poor week for them to date. Appleby is in 31st position, John Senden, Robert Allenby and Nick O’Hern 49th, while Geoff Ogilvy and Jason Day have hung on by the skin of their teeth to a place in the final round.
Peter Lonard, Adam Scott and Aaron Baddeley each made the cut but miss out on a chance to play the final round via the MDF rule where only a certain number of players are entitled to play on the final day of an event.
For Lonard it has extinguished his chances to make it to next week’s BMW Championship as despite improving from 84th to 76th this week it will not be enough to see him in the field next week. Currently Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Geoff Ogilvy, John Senden, Adam Scott, Mathew Goggin and Aaron Baddeley are all but assured of being in next week’s field.
Jason Day will need something very special tomorrow if he is to move from his current 81st to inside the all important top 70 and be on his way to St Louis.
In another subplot to the week, those players vying for Paul Azinger’s Ryder Cup consideration are very much under scrutiny and Woody Austin did his chances of inclusion no harm by adding a second consecutive 66 to be in 17th position. It is likely an effort enough to get the nod.
Steve Stricker has safely made the cut and at number 9 in the standings must be closing in on a place. Sean O’Hair, another on the edge of consideration, missed the cut and might have kissed his chances goodbye.
Azinger names his final four places on Tuesday September 2nd and players such as Brandt Snedeker and Hunter Mahan have one last chance tomorrow to impress their possible captain.