ATLANTA (Reuters) - Dehydrated after two days of sapping heat and humidity at East Lake Golf Club, Gary Woodland fired the best score of the week at the Tour Championship on Saturday after making sure he drank a lot of fluid overnight.
The long-hitting American felt energized heading into the third round and, though conditions were once again sweltering in the PGA Tour’s season-ending event, he surged up the leaderboard with a sparkling seven-under-par 63.
“Today was a little more like it,” Woodland told reporters after piling up five birdies in his first nine holes to race to the turn in a sizzling five-under 30. “I struggled the first two days. I really think the heat got to me.
“I was dehydrated. Yesterday I really struggled, had no energy but I played early yesterday so I was back at the hotel. I drank water all night, just trying to get fluids back in my body.
“Today I felt great. I came out and I made some putts, too, which I noticed is something I haven’t done in a while,” added the American, who holed out from a greenside bunker to eagle the par-five 15th. “I definitely got putts to go in.”
Woodland, who had opened with scores of 71 and 75, totaled only 25 putts in the third round and benefited from ideal course conditions after teeing off in the first pairing of the day.
“The golf course was nice,” said the 30-year-old, who has won twice on the PGA Tour. “The greens were perfect. It was nice to go off early because there was nobody in front of us. The golf course is ideal.
“It’s one of the better rounds I’ve played. This golf course has kind of had my number. This is my third year here and I haven’t played well here before.
“For me to come out and finally make putts and get a low number definitely gives me a lot of confidence. It would especially be nice to play well tomorrow, too, and finish on a high note.”
Woodland finished the third round at one-under 209, a distant nine strokes off the early lead.
Editing by Gene Cherry