Thursday, March 30, 2017

You Oughta Know: National treasure

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – With three rounds in the books at the Honda Classic, the tournament has seemingly turned into a one-man race. Here’s what You Oughta Know heading into the final round at PGA National, where Rickie Fowler hopes to close out his first worldwide win in more than a year:

• Fowler held a 36-hole lead here last year but faded with a third-round 74. This time around he shot a bogey-free 65 to turn a one-shot deficit into a four-shot lead over Tyrrell Hatton.

• Fowler has not won since the 2016 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and his last PGA Tour victory came at the 2015 Deutsche Bank Championship.

• Fowler’s recent record with the lead is less than stellar. He is 0-for-4 in previous attempts to convert a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, most recently at The Barclays in August where he finished T-7 behind Patrick Reed.

• This is the third straight week that a player has taken at least a four-shot lead into the final round on Tour. Two weeks ago Jordan Spieth led at Pebble by six and won by four, while last week Dustin Johnson maintained a five-shot advantage at Riviera.

• PGA National has been kind to leaders. Since the Honda moved here in 2007, seven of 10 winners held at least a share of the 54-hole lead.

• Hatton is a non-member on the PGA Tour and is playing this week as a sponsor invite. His best prior finish came last year at The Open, where he tied for sixth.

• Like Hatton, Martin Kaymer is playing this week on a sponsor invite. The German is T-3 at 7 under, six behind Fowler, and in search of his first worldwide win since the 2014 U.S. Open.

• Wesley Bryan held a share of the 36-hole lead but fell back to T-3 after a third-round 72. Bryan won three times last year on the Web.com Tour and is in search of his second top-5 finish in as many weeks (T-4 Genesis Open).

• Sean O’Hair surged into a tie for third with a Saturday 65 and trails Fowler by six. Should he pull off the comeback, it would be his first Tour win since the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

• Charles Howell III’s travel plans may hinge on Gary Woodland. Howell is ninth in the FedEx Cup and will book a trip to the WGC-Mexico Championship if he remains inside the top 10 Sunday, but he’s currently projected to drop behind both Fowler and Woodland, who is T-3.


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