Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 | 7 p.m.
- Former Rebel Ryan Moore equals course record, grabs two shot lead at local PGA Tour spot
- Top Las Vegas pros paired together for start of Timberlake Shriners Open
- Transitional year for Timberlake Shriners Open not stunting momentum
- Local golfer Kevin Na wins Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
It looks like the final day of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open will feature a three-man race for the victory.
The three players that began the third round of play at the top of the leader board — Jonas Blixt, Brendon de Jonge and Ryan Moore — further extended their lead and wound up even after 36 holes.
Moore, de Jonge and Blixt all found themselves at 19-under for the tournament after being paired together in the lead group Saturday.
“When everyone is playing well, you can feed off of each other and I think we did a good job of that today,” de Jonge said. “We saw a lot of putts go in. Everyone played well, and hopefully we’ll have more of the same tomorrow.”
The trio is five strokes ahead of the next closest golfers. They’ll tee off at 11 a.m. Sunday for the final round.
De Jonge, a Zimbabwe native who attended Virginia Tech, and Blixt, who is from Sweden and went to Florida State, are looking for their first PGA Tour victories. The best tournaments of de Jonge’s and Blixt’s career to this point have culminated in third-place finishes.
Moore has one previous victory, three years ago in Greensboro, N.C. at the Wyndam Championship. But capturing a title at TPC Summerlin would be more special to him. Moore, of course, graduated from UNLV in 2005. Although he’s relocated to Arizona, several family members still call Las Vegas home and several more are in town for the tournament.
“It’s fun having them out here and I’ve had a ton of support all week,” Moore said.
Moore said spending time with his family had helped him stay in the right emotional state for all of the Timberlake Shriners Open. Instead of thinking too much about golf or dwelling on the few mistakes he’s made, Moore has largely forgotten about the tournament after he finishing his rounds.
He’s had other activities lined up every night after his round. He was off to a barbecue at his mother-in-law’s house Saturday evening.
“I will be doing a whole lot of nothing tonight and not really thinking about it or worrying about it,” Moore said.
While Moore’s third-round play wasn’t quite as impressive as when he tied the course-record Thursday, he made even fewer mistakes.
The former Rebel had no bogeys. Six birdies put his score 6-under, a stroke better than both de Jonge and Blixt.
Moore had a two-stroke over de Jonge and was three strokes ahead of Blixt after the front nine. But he hit fewer fairways and missed more putts to only go 2-under on the back nine.
Blixt, meanwhile, birdied five of the final six holes. De Jonge made four straight birdies from the 13th hole through the 16th.
“I got hot in the end and made some putts and was able to catch them in the end there,” Blixt said. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
All three leaders credited the higher scores on the third day to tougher pin placement. Moore said his intimate knowledge of the course particularly came in handy.
Like last year’s champion Kevin Na, Moore has an advantage because of all the hours he’s logged playing at TPC Summerlin in the past.
“I’ve obviously got a long ways to go,” Moore said. “I’ve got two guys that I am playing against that are playing great golf and a course that’s very scorable. Somebody that’s a handful of shots behind us can go out and shoot 7-, 8-, 9-, 10-under. You’ve seen those scores this week.”
Jimmy Walker and Tim Herron are both within striking range of the leaders at five strokes behind. But it would likely take the combination of an incredible score and a collapse from the leaders to give them a realistic shot at winning.
“I’m just going to go keep my head down and just keep playing golf exactly how I’ve been playing all week and see what happens in the end,” Moore said.