April 21, 2013

Newbies take aim at win

Five golfers in the top 10 on the leader board at the RBC Heritage will enter today’s action looking for their first victory on the PGA Tour.

Five golfers in the top 10 on the leader board at the RBC Heritage will enter today’s action looking for their first victory on the PGA Tour.

Brendon de Jonge highlights the list, as the 32-year-old fired a 4-under-par 67 Saturday to move to 7 under for the tournament and four shots off the lead. The Zimbabwe native, who was the 2008 Nationwide Tour player of the year, has carded 67 or better in the third round at the RBC Heritage three times in five attempts.

“It’s going to be difficult,” said de Jonge, who is seeking his first win on tour in 161 starts. “Obviously, blowing that hard, then it gets in the trees and swirls around, as well. It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be a day to stay patient.”

Ryo Ishikawa, Justin Hicks, Billy Horschel and Steve LeBrun also are gunning for their first win, as all four golfers head into today tied for sixth. Only Horschel has played at the RBC Heritage before.

Five golfers, including notables such as Arnold Palmer, Stewart Cink and Boo Weekley, have won in their first visit to Harbour Town.

“I’m happy with (my) result,” Ishikawa said. “Definitely different conditions with this wind. ... And yeah, since last Sunday at Augusta I’ve been playing well. Hopefully, yeah, I get into the contention tomorrow.”

A glass of wine will do just fine

One of the more frequently asked questions of golfers at the RBC Heritage involves the loose atmosphere of the event that follows the intense competition at the Masters.

But it still rings true for golfers such as Graeme McDowell, who heads into the final round at 7 under and four shots off the lead.

“It’s a really, really chill, laid-back week, especially coming off the back of last week,” he said Saturday after shooting a 3-under 68. “Renting a beautiful house on the beach and got some friends and family here, and we are really kicking back. It’s a work week, but it’s no hard work week.”

The relaxed style seems to suit McDowell this year. In his three previous starts at Harbour Town, six of his 10 rounds were over 74. This time, all three of his rounds have been par or better.

“Obviously, we’ve got some business tomorrow,” he said. “I’ll be staying out of the party atmosphere. I’ve got some friends and family, been cooking in every night. A glass of wine and enjoying life.”

Fresh cuts

Twenty-one golfers were cut following Saturday’s third round, which began with a RBC Heritage record 91 players. Among those cut were Hunter Mahan, ranked 22nd in the Official World Golf Rankings, and Bo Van Pelt, ranked No. 27. Tommy Gainey also failed to make the second cut, as did Glen Day, who won this event in 1999.

Chips and putts

For the third year in a row, no golfers will card four consecutive rounds in the 60s. The last golfers to do it were Jim Furyk and Brian Davis in 2010. Nick Price holds the record with nine consecutive sub-70 rounds ... Seven golfers carded bogey-free third rounds, including the top two on the leader board, Charley Hoffman and Webb Simpson .

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