Horschel Takes a 3-Shot Lead at BMW Championship
CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — Billy Horschel needed less than a week to give himself a second chance. If he keeps playing this well, his next shot at closing out a tournament won't be nearly as stressful as the last one.
Horschel made a 32-foot birdie putt Saturday to wrap up his bogey-free third round at 7-under 63 and take a three-shot lead over Ryan Palmer heading into the final 18 holes of the BMW Championship.
On Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Horschel had a 6-iron in hand on the 18th fairway and a chance to win or force a playoff, but he chunked the shot, made bogey and settled for a disappointing second-place tie.
It happened," said Horschel, who stands at 13-under 197. "It's not a big deal. Just a bad swing at the wrong time. You can't dwell on things like that.
Five days later, he gave himself a cushion at the third of the four FedEx Cup playoff events, rolling in a 22 footer for birdie on 14, then an 8-foot birdie on 15 to vault into the lead. He closed it out with the long one on 18 — the uphill, par-4 477-yard closing hole that is the third toughest on the course and has surrendered only 18 birdies all week.
Horschel had one of 14 rounds of 67 or better at mile-high Cherry Hills, where soaking rains and cool weather over the last two days have softened the course and chipped away at some of its defenses. There were 15 67s or better through the first two days. The course played 1.7 shots easier Saturday than it did Thursday.
The greens are so much more soft than the first day," said Morgan Hoffman, who briefly flirted with 59 but had to settle for an 8-under 62. "You can really throw it at the flags and keep it there."
Masters champion Bubba Watson shot 66 to draw into a third-place tie at 8 under with U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer, who made seven birdies over the last 12 holes to shoot 64.
Should have been eight," said Kaymer, who three-putted from inside 20 feet on the par-5 17th and settled for par.
I completely misread the first one," he said. "Then, just hit a bad put the second, and then the third one, I was just going for a tap-in and just lost concentration."
The world's top-ranked player shot 2-over 72 and goes into Sunday nine shots off the lead.
Second-round leader Sergio Garcia also struggled. He lipped out a 4-foot par putt on No. 7 — the hole he eagled on Friday — and closed out his round with an approach shot that struck a fan in the grandstand. His 2-over 72 left him seven off the lead.