After 3 days at the Quicken Loans National, Abraham Ancer of Mexico and Francesco Molinari of Italy share the 54-hole lead at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm with scores of 197 (-13). Zac Blair sits in a tie for 3rd with Ryan Armour, and Andrew Landry (Thursday leader) is alone at 5th. Tiger Woods and Marc Leishman are both -7 and tied for 10th place just 6 shots off the lead, and 2017 QL champ Kyle Stanley is a shot behind in a tie for 16th. Rickie Fowler, who only briefly stopped for questions yesterday after his 3rd round, shot a 69 and is in a tie for 22nd at -5.
Francesco Molinari continues to lead the field in greens in regulation, missing just 6 greens over the past 3 days. “Yeah, another good day, played very well. I left a couple of putts on the greens, three-putting and missing a couple of short birdie chances, but it was great to finish like that. The game is there, so it was just a case of trying to recover energy for tomorrow because it’s going to be another very hot day and do my best tomorrow.” With dryer conditions, especially in the fairway, the course is playing shorter than the practice rounds initially indicated. Molinari has a 356 yard drive this week and has averaged 301.5 off the tee for the tournament. On Saturday he made 6 birdie and just 1 bogey to shoot a 65 (-5) for the second day in a row. Asked if his preparation changes because he is in the lead, Molinari told the press, “Preparation is the same. Still doing my own thing, trying to do it as well as possible, one shot at a time. It’s boring and everyone says the same, but it’s the way golf works. I need to be mentally strong tomorrow whatever happens. If I start well or if I don’t start well, need to keep pushing and do my things and see after if I will have done enough.”
The biggest story of the day was Abraham Ancer’s course record of 62 (-8), which Kevin Streelman set just 24 hours before on Friday. Ancer hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, all while carding 8 birdies and no bogeys. “Yeah, it was good today. I was very patient out there. It was a low number, but still a big-time golf course, so I just tried to hit as many fairways as I could and as many greens as I could, and I was rolling it nice so that obviously helped,” Ancer said after the round. Asked about the heat, which has hovered in the mid-90s throughout the tournament, Ancer shrugged it off. “I love it. I grew up in Mexico, in the north part of Mexico where it’s very hot, very similar to it. Didn’t bother me. I would rather play in this than cold weather.” He will tee off with Molinari in the final group at 2:10pm. Both men will be searching for their first win on the PGA Tour- Ancer owns 1 victory on the Web.com Tour and Molinari owns 7 professional victories- 5 of which on the European Tour (most recently last month at the BMW PGA Championship).
Finally, while Tiger Woods has remained in contention the entire week, it appeared yesterday that he showed signs of being a threat to win it all. After opening up with a bogey on the first hole, Tiger proceeded to make 5 birdies and 1 bogey over the last 6 holes on the front, carding a 32 in his outward 9. But two costly bogeys on the back resulted in a 2-under 68 for the day, despite making 6 birdies. “Oh, it was frustrating because I played better than what my score indicates,” Tiger said after the round, though still in high spirits. “I thought that 10 under would have been a good score for me to end up at for the day and I could have easily gotten that today on the back nine.” Asked what his plan is for Sunday, Woods told the media it largely depends on how the course changes overnight. “I’m curious to see what they do with the golf course, if they keep letting it dry out or are they going to protect it against this heat. If they let it dry out, then the scores won’t be as low tomorrow, but if they protect it, then everybody’s been making birdies everywhere here. I’m going to have to — either way I’m going to have to shoot a low round to try to give myself a chance, but I would hope that it would be drier because it gives me a little better chance.”
The Wrightway Network will be live on Sunday from TPC Potomac. TV Coverage will begin with lead-in coverage on the Golf Channel from 1-2:45pm before CBS takes over at 3pm.