Lingmerth a little shaky but maintains lead
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.”
After shooting 5-under-par in each of the first two rounds at the Quicken Loans National, David Lingmerth was 3 over on Saturday.