Atwal shoots best on tough day, moves to tied 3rd in PGA event
Irving (Texas): Arjun Atwal stayed steady in trying conditions to return the day`s best card of three-under 67 and move into contention for his second PGA title at the USD 6.5 million HP Byron Nelson Golf Championships.
Atwal was three-under 207 for three rounds and tied third, up from overnight 29th place. He shared the position with Japan`s Ryuji Imada (71).
Atwal, who won his maiden PGA Tour title last year at the Wyndham Championships, opened the third round with a bogey on the second hole.
He then hit a purple patch with four birdies in a five-hole run before a bogey on the ninth saw him turn in two-under.
Later, birdies on tenth and 12th were followed by a bogey on the 15th, but he finished three-under 67 and was only two shots behind leader Ryan Palmer (73) and only one behind Sergio Garcia (74).
The last three holes played into the wind, which was about 25 miles per hour with gusts near 40. Only eight of 74 players shot under-par yesterday, and there were no bogey-free rounds.
Atwal, who had shot a stunning 64 in the third round of the same event last year en route to finishing tied seventh, said, "This 67 is a lot better than whatever I shot last year. It was truly a really tough day today. There`s not too many birdies out there. I mean, par`s really good on almost every hole, and I`m just lucky to shoot 67."
"It was really nice on the front nine (he had four birdies). On the back nine I rolled in some putts and just kept myself in it," Atwal added.
Talking of his run of late, Atwal said, "A little bit from the final round at TPC (at Players Championships). I had one bad hole in the third round. I hit it really good, putted really well there. Then last week at Colonial was pretty solid, finished 16th, so it`s getting better."
On the wind, the players had to encounter, Atwal said, "You catch the wrong gust and you could be in serious trouble on this golf course. The greens, they`re obviously baked out a little bit, so they`ve got some speed to them. It`s been a
really tough test."
"On Friday, (at) the 8th, which was 17th for me, on a 15-footer on my downstroke, I caught a gust and the ball went about 10 feet past the hole.
"You`ve got to be really careful. You`ve got to wait to hit shots and putts. That`s the secret right now. Today I had a couple of shots which gusted on me, but it`s going to happen with everybody so you`ve got to accept it."
Palmer, who has made only one cut in seven starts at Byron Nelson, held onto the lead despite a 73 and a total of 205. Second-placed Garcia, who came in without a practice round, shot 74 and was one behind Palmer at four-under 206.
Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar shot 68s and were tied with Joe Ogilvie (72) for fifth at two-under.