LAS VEGAS – Notes and observations from Saturday’s third round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, where former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover leads by one shot from Brooks Koepka and Rod Pampling. For more from TPC Summerlin check out the Daily Wrap-up.
While the youth brigade on the PGA TOUR is certainly represented on the leaderboard via Brooks Koepka and Russell Henley a trio of cagey veterans, two of them Major champions, all have desires of a big Sunday in Las Vegas.
Leader Lucas Glover (36 years old) and Australian duo Rod Pampling (47) and Geoff Ogilvy (39) are hoping to buck the trend of young winners in Vegas.
Since 1995, there have now been 10 winners of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in their 20s, second most for a tournament during this time frame. The BMW Championship has yielded 11 winners under the age of 30. The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard shares the second spot with 10.
Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion and three-time TOUR winner has not won since the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship.
“I don’t hit it as far as those guys, and I’m not as big or fit or whatever as some of them, but if I chip and putt well, I think I can play,” Glover said after setting up his one shot lead.
“I’m not out to prove I can beat anybody, I’m out to prove I can play the golf course and beat it.”
Pampling, who has won twice on TOUR but not since the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2006, says TPC Summerlin is a venue where the older guys are not at a significant disadvantage.
And he’s hoping his fellow veterans prove a good omen.
“This is a good golf course for us also. Would it be nice to hit it long? Absolutely. But you don’t need to,” Pampling said.
“It’s funny you mention those two other guys are up there. I mentioned it to my caddie. I said, last time I won Bay Hill, they were both there, as well. Hopefully some good signs, and it’ll still go my way.”
Brooks Birdie Blitz
It is an obvious statement but if Brooks Koepka could limit his mistakes he’d be cruising in Las Vegas.
The 26-year-old leads the field with 20 birdies at TPC Summerlin, and he also has two eagles, yet eight bogeys and a double bogey have ensured he heads to Sunday one shot off the lead.
“Ball-striking was pretty poor, and for some reason I couldn’t get the speed of the greens,” Koepka, who held the lead briefly until a double bogey on 17 said.
“They looked like they were flying. They looked like they were crusting out there. Speed was just bad. But overall, I guess 1-under isn’t the worst.
“For as bad as we played today, I was kind of happy to be one off the lead. But just kind of struggled everywhere.”
Koepka headed for the range post round to try to iron out a “pull – draw” in his swing.
He will also replace his driver before the final round after discovering a few small cracks on the top of the face.
“We were pull drawing everything. Just on 17 there, I just felt like the club face was shut coming down, and I felt like I was fighting it all day. Not my best performance.”