US Bank Championship round three: History is on Lumpy's side
Tubby Tim or Tiny Tim? It’s Herron versus Clark in Sunday’s final pairing and the omens strongly favour of one of them. Ominously for Clark, history is firmly on the side of the third round leader - Shigeki Maruyama in 2001 being the only exception in the last seven years.
For all his lardiness, four-time winner Herron is a mean player when he’s on song and says he has worked on a new putting stroke that seems to be bringing home the bacon. Only a single bogey and a double bogey blemish his card and his putting has been on a constant upward curve. I recall when he won the Colonial last year how well he responded under pressure with some killer shots, so he should be able to handle wobbly Sunday.
Clark will be a determined adversary. The South African will be mortified to come so close to his first PGA win two weeks running if he doesn’t make it. The putter that has been holding Clark back has also shown signs of steady improvement and he already tops the field for finding greens.
If history is not to be repeated, Joe Ogilvie stands ready to pick up the pieces. But he’s not over-familiar with the pressures up top on a Sunday and he has not been finding the fairways and greens like he did in round one.
Kenny Perry knows he’s got to go low and we have seen recent flashes that suggest he can do it, but his putter is presently a heavy burden. It’s putting that will probably do for Billy Mayfair and Jeff Maggert too.
The biggest threat could come from six-time winner Jeff Sluman, the only one of three competition double winners playing this week to make it past the cut. His game has shown steady improvement since Thursday, especially with the putter.
There’s others in with a shout, of course, like Jesper Parnevik if he can stop gnashing his teeth long enough, but I’ll stick with the leaders. I expect Clark to make a run for it like last week, and the market gives him the edge at 3.2 over Herron at 3.55. I’d love to see him make it, but for me the odds are more on Lumpy to edge him.
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