After the weather-related shenanigans of the last twenty-four hours, we finally have a 54-hole leaderboard, and who should sit atop the pile, but gritty Northerner Graeme McDowell. His third round 68 leaves him on twelve-under par, enough for a one-shot advantage over K.J. Choi and David Toms, who are in turn two shots clear of a group of six players.
Though McDowell’s love of the big occasion, in tandem with his narrow stroke advantage, leaves him an obvious favourite heading into the final eighteen, you could also make a compelling case for nearly every one of the top nine players (sorry, Jason Dufner).
Both Toms and Choi are solid ball-strikers more than capable of grinding out a winning score should McDowell falter; Love (whom I nominated as my favourite last week!) is a veteran with some serious final round pedigree at Sawgrass; ole Badds.com is explosive enough to trouble a three shot deficit should his swing suddenly find itself in sync; and, when it comes to Watney and Donald, you’re talking about the two form players on the PGA Tour this year.
The final round should make for intriguing viewing. Get on the comments thread with your predictions, analysis and updates!
[Ed. note: First of all, thanks, Conor for the somewhat disturbing picture of G-Mac (as much as I love him). Anyway, who caught G-Mac’s shot into 18 green this morning? His ball landed short right (pin was front right), hit a mound and kicked straight left and rolled into the water. Thanks, Pete Dye! G-Mac’s reaction? Priceless. He dropped the club and looked over to his caddie with a shocked expression that screamed, “Seriously?? That really just happened?” Being the class act he is, he didn’t take out his frustration on the course design afterward. “18 was a tough break, but it’s just one of those things. This golf course is dangerous.” –Steph]