Adam Scott wasn't as sharp on Saturday as he'd been the first two rounds, but the Australian golfer is hanging on to a three-shot lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, heading into the final round with a score of 15-under par.
He's being chased hard by Keegan Bradley, who is just three shots off the lead at 12-under par. The two of them will tee off in the final pairing on Sunday, as the PGA Tour announced following the completion of Saturday's action.
The third round is in the books at Bay Hill. Scotts pars 18th for a 71 and a three-shot lead. Scott-Bradley will be final pairing Sunday.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 22, 2014
Matt Every and Jason Kokrak are four shots behind Scott, Francesco Molinari is five shots off the lead and Chesson Hadley remains in striking distance, six shots back.
It'll take a minor miracle for anyone below these golfers on the leaderboard to win this tournament with just one round remaining.
Speaking of which, here's the leaderboard heading into Sunday:
|Position||Player||To Par||Today||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Total|
Note: To see the full leaderboard, please visit PGATour.com.
After Scott's blazing scores of 62 and 68 the first two days of this tournament, his less-than-stellar showing on Saturday opened up the door for one of the top contenders to steal the victory Sunday when the pressure mounts.
At one point in the third round, his seven-shot lead from Friday night had shrunk to just one shot as he struggled to make birdies and the rest of the leaders put on a clinic, as noted by Golf Digest on Twitter:
And just like that, Adam Scott's seven shot lead is down to one. http://t.co/pzrFA5Y3KW— Golf Digest (@GolfDigestMag) March 22, 2014
Thankfully for Scott and his supporters, he was able to bounce back on the back nine. He carded four birdies and two bogeys to save his round after shooting one over par on the front nine. Among his many stellar shots down the stretch was this gorgeous 24-foot birdie putt on No. 15.
Every put together the best round of the day when he carded a six-under par score of 66 to move to within four shots of the lead (at the time) after starting the day nine shots off the pace set by Scott through two days, as pointed out by Brian Wacker of PGATour.com:
Matt Every in with the low round of the day, a 66, at #BayHill. Tied for second, four back at the moment.— Brian Wacker (@pgatour_brianw) March 22, 2014
Bradley matched Every's low score not long after, however, as Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel tweeted, posting the tournament's low score for the second round in a row:
Keegan Bradley shoots low round of day for 2nd straight day at Bay Hill. He's now in 2nd place, putting pressure on Adam Scott— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) March 22, 2014
Bradley has the best shot to take Scott down on Sunday, and he was already feeling confident about his game—especially with the flatstick—before the third round began.
"The putter was the difference," said Bradley, who totaled 25 putts Friday after 30 in the first round, per Brentley Romine of GolfWeek.com. "Finally made a few putts. (It) felt so good. I feel like I've got some good mojo going into the weekend."
His confidence will surely be brimming after Saturday's stellar showing, and with just three shots separating Bradley and Scott, a victory at Bay Hill is certainly attainable.
If he continues to hit gorgeous shots like this one on No. 18, shown by The Golfsauce, then he'll be tough to beat on Sunday:
That said, all Scott has to do is maintain his composure and not make mistakes to ensure it will take nothing less than perfection to beat him.
If he does win, then Ron Sirak of Golf World reports Scott will move up to the No. 1 spot in the rankings two weeks after the Arnold Palmer Invitational, after both he and Tiger Woods take the week off:
Number-crunchers tell me if Scott wins @APinv he'll be No. 1 in World Ranking not this week but next week, after both he & Tiger are off.— Ron Sirak (@ronsirak) March 22, 2014
Sunday should offer golf fans plenty of drama.
While Bay Hill is certainly a course that can be scored on, it can also come back to bite golfers who aren't at the top of their games.
And while Scott is certainly not going to be pleased at the fact that he lost four strokes off his seemingly insurmountable two-round lead, it set up what should be a thrilling final round.
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