In this section of OddyOddyOddy we will look at those players in contention going into the final round on the PGA Tour to see if we can predict who is going to keep their nerve and who is going to be twitching like a sleeping dog come the back 9 on Monday morning.
Palmer (Ryan not Arnold) -5
Johnson (Zach) -5
New South Welshman Steven Bowditch leads by 3 shots going into Round 4 of the Texas Open. One thing we know about the PGA Tour is that no lead is unassailable – i’ve lost count of the number of 3+ shot leads that have been blown over the last few years and we only have to look back one week to Adam Scott chucking away a 3 shot lead.
Bowditch will be looking to repeat the way he started round 3 when he birdied the 1st and eagled the 2nd.
So how will the big Aussie fare? There’s not much evidence to go on as far as PGA Tour starts go as he’s had just 2 top 10s in 111 starts before this week.
If we look at all tours going back to 2003 he’s led 6 times after round 3 and he’d converted those leads to wins on 5 of the 6 occasions. The only time he’s blown it was in November 2013 in the NSW Open on the Australasian Tour when he shot 76 in round 4 and dropped to 7th.
Five of six conversions is very impressive, even if those wins came on the Australasian, Web.com and Challenge tours.
He looks to be a better leader than chaser as he’s ended round 3 in 2nd or 3rd place on 6 occasions and only once has he not dropped further down the leaderboard in round 4.
Matt Kuchar has won 6 times in 308 PGA Tour starts and he’ll be the man Bowditch will be expecting to challenge him most.
Kuchar has been in the top 5 going into round 4 on 20 occasions, winning 5 times. He’s been 1st or 2nd nine times for 3 wins.
Of the 20 times he’s been in the top 5 he’s improved his position 10 times, twice his position was unchanged and 8 times he worsened his position.
When Kuchar is in contention going into round 4 he usually stays in contention. He’s the biggest danger to another Aussie winner on the PGA Tour.
Who knows what to expect from Andrew Loupe? Not me. He’s only played 7 events on the PGA Tour and finished in the top 25 just once, missing 5 cuts. He’s played on the Web.com tour 32 times and finished in the top 10 twice and top 25 six times.
Pat Perez has won once in 326 starts with his single win coming back in 2009.
Perez has been in the top five after round three 16 times and 12 times he’s been in a lower position on the leaderboard after round 4.
On 9 occasions he’s been in the top 3 going into round 4 – he won one of those (it was actually going into round 5 as he won the 2009 Bob Hope Classic – a 5 round event) but on the other 8 occasions he slipped down the leaderboard.
Perez looks like one to avoid on a Sunday, especially seeing as he’s in a 3 ball with Kevin Na, a slow player who has the yips on the tee and with whom no-one apparently wants to be paired.
What can you say about Kevin Na? i could say quite a lot about the annoying ******* but let’s focus on whether he’s going to win rather than whether at some point my head will spontaneously combust while watching him on the tee.
Na has won once in 256 starts and that win was in 2011.
He’s been in the top 5 fifteen times after round 3. Twice he’s improved his position, 7 times it’s remained the same and six times he’s worsened it.
He’s in terrific form but for me he’s also one to avoid. He was in contention as recently as a couple of weeks ago in the Valspar Championship when he was 2nd going into the final round. He finished 2nd to Aussie John Senden after shooting 3 over on the front 9 before rallying late on.
Two players who are lurking in behind the leaders are:
Ryan Palmer – 3 wins from 280 starts. 18 times he’s been in the top 5 after round 3. Four times he’s improved his position, 7 times he’s improved his position, 7 times he’s worsened it. Palmer always looks up for it on a Sunday. Don’t write him off if he gets in the mix on the back 9.
Zach Johnson – 11 wins from 271 starts. He’s been in the top five 26 times and 13 times he’s improved his position and 9 times he’s slipped down the leaderboard. He won’t be going for a comfortable top 5 finish as Andrew Loupe might (for the prize money) or a top 3 like Ryan Palmer needs to get into the Masters. He’ll be going all out to win. This might not work in his favour though as he’s been in 8th, 9th 10th or 11th going into round 4 on 13 occasions and 10 times he’s finished off worse than that.
Bowditch -$3.15 SPORTINGBET.COM.AU
Kuchar $3.0 SPORTINGBET.COM.AU
Loupe $13 SPORTINGBET.COM.AU
Perez $10 BET365.COM.AU
Johnson $26 SPORTINGBET.COM.AU