Sunday, March 19, 2017

Charley Hoffman and Kevin Kisner tied at the

top at Arnold Palmer Invitational

In the third round of the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman both played under-par rounds and sit at 11-under par, three shots clear of three other players, including two Englishmen, Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton
 click here for the Daily Wrap-Up.




Kevin Kisner saw this coming, even after several months of frustrating golf.
I told my caddie at (The Honda Classic), ‘In about a month I think I’m going to be able to do this on the golf course,’” Kisner said after shooting 68 on Saturday. He was right. He shares the 54-hole lead with Charley Hoffman at Bay Hill Club and Lodge. They’re three shots ahead of three players: Marc Leishman and Englishmen Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton.
Kisner was playing the best golf of his life early last season, collecting his first US PGA Tour victory at The RSM Classic and taking the FedExCup lead into February. But he had just two top 10s between last January and the end of the season, which concluded with a second consecutive Tour Championship appearance.
“I never got in contention, and the whole reason I play the game is to get in contention,” Kisner said. “I didn’t feel like I was playing well enough to get in contention, and that was the hardest part.”
Kisner said injuries led to poor swing habits, while the pressure of trying to qualify for his first Ryder Cup team led to burn-out.
“I needed a break,” he said.
He’s started 2017 by finishing in the top 25 in all but one of his five starts, including three finishes of 11th or better. He ranks 42nd in the FedExCup.
This is Kisner’s third time holding the 54-hole lead. He also led at the 2015 RSM Classic, which he won, and the previous week’s World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, where he finished second to Russell Knox.


An unlikely birdie on the last hole gave Hoffman a share of the 54-hole lead. He missed his tee shot left, then hit a punch shot that stopped just short of the green. He estimates his 71-foot birdie putt had 12 feet of break, but it went in the hole for an unlikely birdie. It was Hoffman’s third-consecutive birdie, and gave him a 71 after a tough start. He estimates that the odds of holing that shot were less than 5 percent.
“I’m just trying to get it down in two and go into Sunday one back, to be completely honest,” said Hoffman, who began the day with the lead but made bogey on the first two holes.
Charley Hoffman interview after Round 3 of Arnold Palmer
Hoffman, pictured, was a late addition to the Arnold Palmer Invitational field, committing to the tournament after a missed cut at last week’s Valspar Championship caused him to fall out of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. This is his fourth appearance here; he’s made the cut just once, finishing 59th.
“I’m glad I’m here,” said Hoffman, who ranks 85th in the FedExCup. He is a four-time US PGA TOUR winner.
This is his third time holding the 54-hole lead. The previous two occasions came in 2013, and he failed to convert either into a victory.


Two of the world’s best players leapt up the leaderboard with the low round of the tournament. Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler each shot 65 on Saturday and are 6 under and 5 under, respectively.
McIlroy had been struggling with his timing this week, playing his first 20 holes in 4 over par. He spent 40 minutes on the range late Thursday trying to sort out the swing issues that led to his first-round 74.
“My timing’s just been a little bit off this week,” said McIlroy, who’s making just his second start since returning from a stress fracture in his rib. “My timing was a bit better today, starting from the warm-up on the range and thankfully it transferred out onto the course.”
McIlroy ranks 79th in the FedExCup after his seventh-place finish two weeks ago at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship. He didn’t make a bogey Saturday, missing just three greens in regulation.
Fowler’s round was a bit more eventful. He made double-bogey at No. 3 after hitting his tee shot in the water, but followed with seven birdies and an eagle. He shot 30 on the back nine, including the eagle at the par-5 16th and an up-and-down from the water to save par at No. 11.
Fowler is No. 10 in the FedExCup after earning his fourth US PGA TOUR win at The Honda Classic.


Tyrrell Hatton, one of the most improved players in the world over the past year or two, has some history competing in central Florida, just not at Bay Hill. He competed on local mini-tours in early 2012, shortly after turning pro. Five years later, Hatton is making a temporary home near Orlando as he plays in a handful of PGA TOUR events leading up to THE PLAYERS Championship.
Hatton, a 25-year-old from England, will start Sunday in third place, three shots off the lead. He recently finished fourth at The Honda Classic, where he played alongside Fowler in the final group.
“I was a little bit hard on myself Sunday at Honda. That's the one thing I know I need to get better at,” he said. “Hopefully, I can just be a bit more patient tomorrow and hopefully have a good day.”
He’s risen nearly 100 spots in the world ranking over the past year after finishing in the top 10 in the past two majors and winning his first European Tour title at St. Andrews. Hatton, the world’s 16th-ranked player, has finished no worse than 13th in four worldwide starts in 2017.


Adam Hadwin is in contention again, just six days after earning his first PGA TOUR victory at the Valspar Championship. Hadwin is four shots off the lead after shooting 69 on Saturday.
“I've hit it beautifully now for seven rounds in a row, and I hit a lot of good putts today,” he said. “Every round I play, every tournament I play, each year, I’m starting to feel more comfortable out here. I’m still kind of rolling from last week, still on a bit of a high, and obviously it’s kind of showing through my game. I’m playing extremely good golf right now, so I just need to keep it going for one more day.”
Even if Hadwin doesn’t win, he’ll continue the best season of hiscvUS  PGA TOUR career. He’s fourth in the FedExCup after his Valspar win and runner-up finish at the CareerBuilder Challenge



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