Andres Romero, 2011 FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas, Roberto Castro and James Driscoll are all tied for the lead at seven-under par overall through three rounds at the 2013 AT&T National.
The tournament, which is hosted by Tiger Woods at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, is tight entering the final 18 holes.
Ten players are within four shots of the lead. Most notable among them are Brandt Snedeker at minus-four, European Ryder Cup member Nicolas Colsaerts and former British Open winner Stewart Cink.
A jumbled leaderboard should lead to another exciting finish on the PGA Tour. Rain caused the second round to drag into Saturday, but the tournament is all caught up at this point.
Here is a look at the top competitors in the event, and for complete scores, visit PGA.com.
|T1||Andres Romero ||70-66-70 ||-7|
|T1 ||Bill Haas ||70-68-68 ||-7|
|T1 ||James Driscoll ||69-69-68 ||-7|
|T1||Roberto Castro ||66-69-71||-7|
|5||Jason Kokrak ||71-66-70 ||-6|
|T6 ||Charlie Wi ||72-71-65 ||-5 |
|T6||Tom Gillis ||70-72-66 ||-5|
|T8||Jordan Spieth ||69-66-74||-4|
|T11||Nicolas Colsaerts ||69-68-73 ||-3 |
|T11||Stewart Cink ||70-69-71 ||-3 |
Note: All statistics, video and tournament history, unless otherwise indicated, are courtesy of PGATour.com.
In the midst of his second-round 66, Romero exploded for four birdies from Nos. 12 to 15, though he sandwiched them with bogeys.
The aggressiveness of the Argentine can often pay dividends, but he hasn't been as consistent in recent years of posting solid finishes on a weekly basis.
It's been awhile since Romero has found the winner's circle, per the Tour's official Twitter:
Some might remember Romero's 10 final-round birdies at Carnoustie, when he finished a shot out of the British Open playoff in 2007. A completely retooled swing has him in contention again, but it wasn't without several blunders.
Romero birdied four of his first eight holes in the next round, the last of which came at the par-four eighth:
What followed wasn't pretty. A double bogey at No. 11 and a dropped shot at the next hole caused him to fall out of the lead.
Stability followed, though, as he parred his final six holes and scrambled to scrape out a one-under 70.
Congressional was a major venue in 2011, when Rory McIlroy lapped the U.S. Open field by eight shots, and it might be playing even harder now than it was then. For what it's worth, Romero has four top 10s in majors, while the rest of the joint leaders have zero among them.
Let's take a look at the rest of those knotted at the top and their prospects of winning for Sunday.
Aside from major championship success—or lack thereof—Haas is the most accomplished player leading the pack, having won four times on the PGA Tour in his career.
Referencing Romero as a roller coaster type of golfer was ironic in the context of Haas' round—because it couldn't have been much more polarizing.
Haas made zero pars in his first six holes but did notch four birdies and two bogeys. He then proceeded to birdie Nos. 8 and 9 (below) to turn in four-under par.
Unfortunately, disaster struck at No. 11 just as it did for Romero—only Haas triple bogeyed the hole. What was impressive is that he followed it up with two straight birdies, then another at the par-four 15th to offset the disappointing lost shot at No. 16, which is a par five.
Nine birdies typically translate to a great day at the office, but for Haas, it only netted him a 67. Golf Digest's Stephen Hennessey couldn't help chiming in on Haas' unique scorecard:
At a tough venue like this one, though, Haas will take it. After all, he is in prime position to win his fifth Tour event entering the last round. Look for him or Romero to pull it out due to their edge in experience.
The 35-year-old Bostonian is something of a journeyman and will benefit from a strong Sunday since he currently sits 92nd in the FedEx Cup points standings.
Driscoll has just one top 10 this season, and his ranking of 18th in strokes gained putting has kept him afloat. On Saturday, he hit 12 of 18 greens in regulation and gained a whopping 3.56 strokes on the field with the flatstick.
That whole "Drive for show, putt for dough" mantra? It seems to be as true with Driscoll as in anyone's case, because he leads his peers in putting at Congressional this week.
These guys are all good, but Driscoll is rolling the rock like butter. Just look at this stroke from 23 feet away on No. 16.
The most important club in the bag has presented Driscoll with a golden opportunity for his maiden PGA Tour victory.
The flourishing finish Castro pulled off is spectacular and has to be witnessed to be believed. Thankfully, PGATour.com captured these final three holes of action.
First, Castro capitalized on the par-five 16th by draining a sweet putt for birdie from roughly 10 feet out:
He followed that up by stuffing it close at No. 17—and birdied shortly thereafter:
Then, the daunting, 523-yard par-four closing hole seemed to have victimized Castro when he dunked his approach in the water. Castro had other ideas, however, and holed the 80-foot chip for par as the gallery erupted in a frenzy:
Castro was three-over through his first three holes but rallied back to salvage a round of 70. The biggest splash he previously made was firing a 63 in the opening round of The Players Championship, but he followed up with a 78 and wound up tied for 19th.
Like Driscoll, Castro is chasing his first Tour trophy, but his putting will have to remain uncharacteristically steady for him to have a chance.
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