The PGA Championship: Day 3
August 13 2011
1:55 pm Toms mounts charge with 65
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — As the great Yogi Berra would say, it was deja vu all over again at the Atlanta Athletic Club on Saturday.
David Toms, who won the 2001 PGA Championship played on the same layout, has just finished off a round of 65 that moved him to 2 under for the tournament. That’s three shots off the lead right now, although the two who are setting the pace, Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner won’t tee off for over an hour at 3 p.m.
Toms, who beat Phil Mickelson by a shot 10 years ago to win his only major, really got going on the back nine after making the turn in even par. He holed a long eagle putt at the par-5 12th and birdied his next two holes, as well, driving the green at the 13th and holing a bunker shot at No. 14.
He finished with a flourish, too, making a final birdie on the 18th hole to shoot 30 on the back.
"Early on I hit a lot of quality shots and really didn’t get anything going at all," Toms said. "… Really the key to my round being a great round was the bunker shot I hit on 14, because holing that, could have made bogey, double, pretty easily; and to hole a bunker shot and made birdie, that was a bonus."
After making that third consecutive birdie, Toms walked up to the 15th tee and saw the plaque that commemorates the hole-in-one he made there in the third round in 2001. He couldn’t help but think back to his career-defining victory.
"People were saying stuff in the crowd about doing it again kind of thing, and you flashback to this time, or this week, ten years ago," Toms said. "A lot of memories for sure. Golf course is different. Golf course is much more demanding, so I have to play extremely well."
Toms’ final birdie marked the second time he birdied No. 18 this week, and he said every birdie there was worth at least half a stroke on the field. When he won in 2001, Toms famously laid up on that hole on Sunday but made the clinching par.
"I don’t know (what it is about the 18th)," Toms said. "Maybe I concentrate well on the tee shot knowing that I have to hit a good one and just kind of suck it up and do it. That’s really all there is. It’s a tough hole. And I’m not afraid to lay up. It wouldn’t bother me, if I don’t hit a good tee shot over there to the right to lay the thing up; I’ve made four that way, and when it really mattered.
"Maybe that’s it, the pressure is off, because I know if I don’t hit a good tee shot I’m going to lay up anyway, so you free wheel it a little bit."
Toms said Saturday was a "very risk/reward" type of day with the pin positions at the Atlanta Athletic Club. "There’s some pins and some tees where you can go after it, but if you don’t hit the shot, you’ll pay the penalty," he said. "So you know, I like the way the course is set up today."
Toms snapped a five-year victory drought when he won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial — one week after losing to K.J. Choi in extra holes at THE PLAYERS Championship. Even better, he’s put himself in the mix for another on Sunday.
"Obviously it will take a great round tomorrow," Toms said. "But you never know. That was the goal of the day was to have a good round. I didn’t know it was going to be a great round. I just wanted to have a good round to give myself a chance to have that hot round maybe like (Steve) Stricker did the first day, you never know, to have a chance, and now you know, if I can have one of those days, I certainly will be in the mix."
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