Moore leads PGA but Baddeley, Choi, Garcia near
June 23, 2014, 12:04 am TWN
CROMWELL, Connecticut -- American Ryan Moore fired a bogey-free four-under par 66 Saturday to seize a one-stroke lead over Australian Aaron Baddeley at the US$6.2 million U.S. PGA Travelers Championship.
Moore, seeking his fourth tour title and second of the season, stood on 13-under par 197 with Baddeley one shot adrift after a 65.
“I didn't hit it in too many terrible spots.” Moore said. “I can't say I hit it amazing, but I was able to get it around.”
South Korean K.J. Choi and Spain's Sergio Garcia shared third on 199 with Americans Scott Langley and Michael Putnum.
Moore, who won last year in Malaysia in an early event of the 2013-14 campaign, also won in 2012 at Las Vegas and 2009 at Greensboro, North Carolina.
Moore eagled the par-5 sixth, birdied the par-3 11th and dropped his approach four feet from the cup at the 17th hole for a birdie to seize the lead.
At the sixth, Moore found a cart path beyond trees to the right with his tee shot, but blasted his second shot through an opening to 38 feet from the pin to set up an unlikely eagle.
“The last place you want to hit it is in those right trees,” Moore said. “I went ahead and hit it off the path and knocked it right up there with a hybrid.”
Moore and his rivals found the course playing harder after rain-softened conditions the first two days.
“The course firmed up,” Moore said. “When these greens are hard you can't really go at the pins. I went for a few today but I tried to play it smart.”
Baddeley birdied the second and fourth holes, began the back nine with back-to-back birdies and answered a bogey at the 12th with birdies at the par-5 13th and 15.
Garcia birdied the third and par-5 sixth but took his lone bogey at the par-3 eighth. On the back side, he birdied the par-3 11th and 16th holes around back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14.
Choi endured a roller-coaster round of five birdies and four bogeys. He began with a bogey, birdied the third and sixth then took a bogey at eight.
After opening the back nine with back-to-back birdies, Choi took a bogey at 13, answered with a birdie at 15 but fell back with a bogey at 17.
Langley, seeking his first US tour title, led by a stroke after 36 holes but fell back after firing a 70.