Arjun Atwal produced vintage golf on Saturday as he made a big move in the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Striking the ball with silken touch, Atwal made 16 of 18 greens in regulation in a six-under 66 that moved him to 11-under through 54 holes. Matthew Wolff took centre stage with a spectacular 64, his second in a row, for a comfortable three stroke advantage over Ryan Armour and Bryson DeChambeau, both scoring 67.
Atwal started with a bogey on the first hole. After reaching the green in two, he missed the par putt from just over five feet. But he made amends from 14 feet on the third to draw back to even par for the round. His round took off vertically when he made an eagle on the 7th sandwiched between birdies on either side.
Atwal flew in on a 186 yard approach, leaving himself ten feet for his second birdie of the day. He drove 312 yards on the par-5 seventh before following through with a 2-iron that flew 240 yards, leaving Atwal less than ten feet for an eagle. He added a birdie on the eighth to move up to nine-under before he made the turn.
Riding a solid tee shot on the par-4 12th, Atwal struck a 171-yard approach setting up another birdie. Working off the left rough, Atwal found a fifth birdie. He reached the green in three on the 577-yard par-5 17th hole. Atwal made a birdie from 24-feet to gain a share of the lead. Even though it was momentary with the overnight leader yet to move a club, it was nice reward for a stellar round from the 47-year-old Indian.
Looking to finish the round in style, Atwal reached the green in two but needed three putts to concede a bogey. That accounted for a six-under 66 and an eleven under total through three rounds.
“I was really disappointed with the three putt on the last hole,” Atwal told Golfing Indian. “But I am pleased overall with the round today.”
“I feel like if I could’ve gotten it to 13-under today, I’d have a good chance tomorrow,” he added. “I will need to shoot a real low round tomorrow.”
Wolff constructed his margins with a late burst, producing four birdies and an eagle between the 12th and 17th holes. He made eagle at the par-5 14th hole to gain a share of the lead, before making it his own. He is 19-under 197 through 54 holes.
“I have to give credit to the ice cream truck that was circling the property,” said Wolff. “I’m not joking, actually.” He made a birdie on the fifth from 35 feet.
“I heard the ice cream truck and I’m like, `I have a good feeling about this,'” Wolff added. “Just had that little like ice cream truck song in my head. I think that helped me just not think about the speed or the line or anything, just keep my head free.”
Armour was ahead for most of the day before a double bogey at the par-5 17th hole hurt his chances. Even though he recovered to make a birdie at the 18th, his seventh on the day, it was only enough for a 67 that tied him with DeChambeau going into the final round. Bryson made four birdies in the final six holes to move to 16-under 200.