Graeme McDowell gave an exhibition in putting in round three and is making the most of his invitation to the Corales Puntacana Open after two back-to-back rounds of 64 see him topping the leaderboard.
McDowell, who is without official status on the PGA Tour this year and is relying on invitation returned some incredible putting stats as he needed just 20 slaps of the flat stick during his third round, which included 16 one-putts where fifteen of them where in his first fifteen holes.
This helped significantly is his carding an almost career-best ten birdies (best was 11 during the Sentry Tournament of Champions in 2011) and two bogeys for his second successive 64.
The efforts see McDowell leading the tournament by one stroke from Chris Stroud who also returned a 64 yesterday and he said when he got to the par-5 12th he had a feeling something good was happening.
“I think after I knocked the one in on 12, I said to (my caddie) ‘Is that 12 one-putts in a row?’”
“To be honest with you, when I was standing over those three-footers on 14 and 15, I was more nervous about (them) and that I didn’t want to spoil my round of putts,” he added.
“I hit a great shot into 16, I hit a really good putt there and my run came to an end. But it was a fun day.
”McDowell brought back an old breathing technique and attributed his success on the greens it as gefore he takes the putter away, he said he started doing an out-breath to relax and that small thing played a big role Saturday.
“It’s something I used to do very well way back when, and it’s amazing how you instinctively get good at things and then you stop being good at things as well,” he said.
“That’s cleaned my routines well up on the greens.”This is the fourth time McDowell is at the top of the leaderboard after three rounds in his PGA Tour career, although he won’t want to be reminded that he has never gone on to convert any of his third round leads into victories.
A win today unfortunately won’t guarantee McDowell and automatic spot at The Open Championship which is his much-stated biggest goal for 2019, but a victory will earn him some solid FedExCup points, something he touched on pre-tournament as a big reason for him playing this week.
Ireland’s Paul Dunne also had a superb day and is currently in T5 position in what is his 16th PGA Tour start.
Dunne sits just four shots off the pace set my McDowell on 11-under par following a solid round of 70, which added to his opening rounds of 66 and 69 and he’ll be hoping for big things today.
Dunne’s best finish is T5 at this event last year, and he is seeking a top-10 finish to earn a spot in the field at next week’s Valero Texas Open having earned a spot in the field at the following week’s Houston Open after last years’ efforts at this event.
Seamus Power endured another tough day after his third round 72 left him on 4-under for the tournament and in T53 place.