Ling­merth a lit­tle shaky but main­tains lead

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY GENE WANG

The pre­ci­sion off the tee that had en­abled David Ling­merth to tame un­for­giv­ing TPC Po­tomac at Avenel Farm over the first two rounds of the Quicken Loans Na­tional proved elu­sive Satur­day. Bat­tling a balky driver, the Swede in­stead spent stretches of the third round in the rough and sand.

Still, de­spite too fre­quently court­ing trou­ble, Ling­merth emerged with the 54-hole lead fol­low­ing a 3-over-par 73. His three-day to­tal of 7-un­der 203 left him one stroke in front of sec­ond­place Daniel Sum­mer­hays, who shot an even-par 70 at a course host­ing its first reg­u­lar PGA Tour event since a re­design com­pleted in 2009.

Spencer Levin stands two shots back af­ter card­ing a 5-un­der 65, the low round on a day in which a band of storms in­ter­rupted play for 90 min­utes dur­ing the late af­ter­noon.

“Just got off to a bit of a rough start,” said Ling­merth, who hit just six of 14 fair­ways. “Missed a cou­ple tee shots to the left, which is some­thing I don’t usu­ally do, and it kind of maybe got me a lit­tle un­nerved, I guess, with the tee balls the rest of the day. I

didn’t hit as many fair­ways as I usu­ally do, and it’s tough to play from the rough out here.”

Ling­merth did keep his tee shot on line to col­lect his lone birdie on the back nine at the short par-4 14th hole.

There, the self-pro­fessed Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals fan who counts fel­low Swedes Nick­las Back­strom and Mar­cus Jo­hans­son as bud­dies, drove 292 yards to the fringe, leav­ing an eagle putt of 23 feet. He left that at­tempt a foot short and tapped in to re­claim the two-shot ad­van­tage he had es­tab­lished af­ter con­sec­u­tive rounds of 65.

At the next three holes, Ling­merth had to ex­e­cute bunker shots. He was able to get up-and­down for par at the 490-yard par-4 15th af­ter his ap­proach landed in a green­side bunker. Then at No. 16, a 412-yard par-4, Ling­merth drove into a fair­way bunker but saved par.

“I missed a lot of tee balls, and I missed some ap­proaches, but I man­aged some­how to miss in de­cent spots where I was able to scram­ble pretty good to­day,” Ling­merth said. “I didn’t make many putts from the out­side, let’s say, but I was pretty steady from 10 feet and in, so I man­aged to make a lot of par putts that way and stay in the tour­na­ment.”

At the par-3 17th, how­ever, he blasted out of an­other green­side bunker to get within five feet be­fore his putt caught the left edge of the cup and spun out for a tap-in bo­gey.

Af­ter hit­ting 22 of 28 fair­ways over the first two rounds, Ling­merth’s driver failed to co­op­er­ate on the front side. At the 440-yard, par-4 first, he pulled his tee shot, send­ing the ball into a fair­way bunker. His next shot found a green­side bunker to the right of the flag­stick.

Ling­merth blasted out within 13 feet past the hole and rolled a putt for par two feet past the cup. The re­sult­ing bo­gey was only his third over three rounds.

At the 619-yard par-5 sec­ond, Ling­merth’s tee shot again landed in a bunker, this time along the right side. He was able to make birdie when he hit onto the fair­way and left his ap­proach within four feet, hol­ing out to get to 10 un­der.

A wayward drive at the 440yard par-4 fourth re­sulted in a penalty drop when his ball splashed down in wa­ter hug­ging the left side of the fair­way. His next shot trav­eled some 160 yards onto the fair­way, leav­ing roughly 80 yards to the pin. Ling­merth’s ap­proach set­tled within eight feet, and he two-putted for his first dou­ble bo­gey of the tour­na­ment.

The first fair­way Ling­merth hit came at the 365-yard par-4 fifth, where he made par, sink­ing his two-footer in the nick of time. Mo­ments later, a storm cell be­gan to move through the area, bring­ing thun­der, light­ning and tor­ren­tial rains that sus­pended play.

The pro­ceed­ings re­sumed with Ling­merth at the No. 6 tee hold­ing a one-stroke lead over Sum­mer­hays, who be­gan the third round alone in third place. Sum­mer­hays made birdie at the fifth be­fore the weather de­lay to get to 1 un­der for the day and 7 un­der in his third round through six holes.

The two were tied for first at 7 un­der af­ter 10 holes when Ling­merth drove into the pri­mary rough on his first swing af­ter mak­ing the turn. His third shot at the 560-yard par-5 10th landed in the rough, and his ap­proach sailed into a green­side bunker on the right side. He blasted six feet past the cup and holed the putt for bo­gey.

Ling­merth re­claimed the lead at the di­a­bol­i­cal 470-yard par-4 11th ranked the most dif­fi­cult hole on tour this year in non-ma­jor events. His 10-footer for birdie came to rest on the edge of the cup, but Sum­mer­hays had made bo­gey there in the group im­me­di­ately ahead of Ling­merth to drop into a sec­ond-place tie at time with Sung Kang at 6 un­der.

Kang fin­ished among three play­ers in fourth place one shot back of Levin, whose blis­ter­ing back nine fea­tured four birdies.

“Yeah, it was the best round I’ve had all year,” said Levin, 369th in the world golf rank­ings en­ter­ing this week. “It’s been a tough year, but the putts have been go­ing in this week, which is ob­vi­ously why I’m play­ing well, so that’s what it’s go­ing to take to­mor­row. I’m look­ing for­ward to it, though. I haven’t been in this po­si­tion for a long time.”

PETE MAROVICH FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Af­ter shoot­ing 5-un­der-par in each of the first two rounds at the Quicken Loans Na­tional, David Ling­merth was 3 over on Satur­day.

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