Robert Garrigus survived Moving Day at the Valspar Championship on Saturday, but lost some ground to playing partner, Kevin Na. The 36 year-old journeyman golfer started the day with a three shot lead, but after running into some problems on the back nine at The Copperhead golf course, got in the clubhouse with a one-shot lead. Both players were on the clock most of the day, and were close to loosing a stroke to the rules.
Garrigus got off to a nice start with birdies at the first two holes, and was three under at the turn. That’s when he ran into trouble. The struggle started at the 11th hole, and continued the rest of the afternoon. He carded a 0ne under par 70 while Na posted a 68. The two will be paired again on Sunday for the finale’.
Playing in the final group, Garrigus and Na were on the clock for slow play most of the day. Kevin Na has had problems with the clock for most of his career, and was close to incurring a penalty while playing with Matt Kuchar at the 2012 Players Championship.
Already on the clock, the Valspar Championship leader was given a bad-time assessment that put him one step from a penalty stroke.
“The first time in 17 years as a professional that I’ve ever got a bad time on the golf course,” said Garrigus, who saw what once was a four-shot lead shrink to one by the time he completed his 1-under 70 Saturday.
Playing partner Kevin Na also incurred a bad time on the previous hole, when he spent too long assessing a swirling breeze on the 13th tee. It wasn’t until the final hole that the duo was taken off the clock.
While neither man disputed the bad time, they also suggested they’d become victims of circumstances.
One of the low scores of the day was posted by Retief Goosen almost seven hours before the leaders got done. The 45 year-old South African went out early and carded a -7 under 64 and will start play on Sunday four back. Goosen just made the cut on Friday at +3, and the 64 puts him back in the mix in this event at The Innisbrook Resort near Tampa.
The two-time major champ underwent back surgery in 2012, and has struggled to return to the form that won him two US Opens. This was his best outing since firing a 63 at the 2012 RBC Canadian Open while suffering the back pain that would culminate in his surgery.
Another man on the move Saturday was John Senden who also fired a 64 on Saturday. Senden will start the final round two shots back at -6 under par and will play in the next to last group with US Open champ, Justin Rose. While the 42 year-old Aussie was moving up the leaderboard, Rose was trying to maintain his position.
Justin Rose shot a -2 under 69, and will begin the day three shots off the pace.
“The pin placements are soft,” said Rose (69), facing a three-shot gap to catch Garrigus. “A lot of them are middle of the green – 8, 9, 10 [paces] from the edge. That might make a comeback more difficult, because you can play to the middle of the green and give yourself looks for birdie.”
The wind is expected to pick up again on Sunday to the 18 mph range. With cloudy and windy conditions, we saw on Thursday what it could do to the scoring. It should provide an interesting conclusion to a tournament that could use some excitement.
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