Temperatures for Sunday’s final round should be about 10-plus degrees cooler than Saturday’s scorcher of 96 degrees with a heat index of 108. That should make it slightly more palatable for players and fans at Colonial (but you’ll still need to drink plenty of water!).
More good news: Strong overnight thunderstorms should improve scoring conditions on softer greens. In addition, wind gusts are not expected to be as severe as the previous three rounds. The storms also forced tournament officials to adjust the tee times, with threesomes now going off on two tees starting at 11:14 a.m. ET.
Now for the challenging news: The wind is expected to shift, and will come out of the north for the first time since the tournament started. It had been a southerly wind the first three days.
Thus, the player who makes the quickest adjustment might very well have the advantage Sunday. Tournament leader Webb Simpson (9 under) hopes it’ll be him.
“There is going to be probably six holes where we hit a different club off the tee, knowing it’s a north wind,” Simpson. “I’m thankful I played in the practice round. I’ve seen this wind before.
“You know, just got to map it out a little different.”
Simpson has the 54-hole lead for the first time in four years. While it’s been a while, he did convert that lead into a victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in 2013, the last of his four wins on TOUR.
The 2012 U.S. Open winner had a chance to end his victory drought earlier this year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open but lost in a playoff to Hideki Matsuyama. That remains his only top 10 in 16 starts this season, but he feels his game is on the upswing. He tied for 11th at the RBC Heritage in April, and tied for 16th earlier this month at THE PLAYERS Championship.
“I feel like Hilton Head, I had a chance to win Sunday,” Simpson said. “PLAYERS Championship, I was in the mix after two days. So I feel like that’s starting to happen more, where I’m part of the conversation of contending.”