These guys take "moving day" seriously.
Saturday is called "moving day" in professional golf, because contestants start jockeying for position and looking to move up the leaderboard in hopes of getting in contention for the final round. In the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, there was plenty of jockeying and plenty of movement.
Another gorgeous day in central Florida with sunshine and light breezes enabled players to be a bit more aggressive on Bay Hill Club's famed Championship Course. The result was a flurry of red numbers â€“ and not just from players near the top.
Matt Every set the pace with a 6-under-par 66, but even players who sat well back in the pack when Saturday dawned got into the swing.
Graeme McDowell, an Orlando area resident, surged into the top 20 with a 5-under 67. Veterans Retief Goosen, Lucas Glover and Vijay Singh, each a former major winner, carded 68s. Davis Love III, three times a runner-up in the King's event, posted one of several 69s.
"It was a day to go out and get it, even though it still wasn't that easy," said Henrik Stenson, who shot 69. "I think it may have been just as hard as [Friday], so to shoot something under 70 is quite good. But you have to try to make something happen if you can."
In all 18 players broke 70 and 40 beat par.
"Yesterday was a tough day," said Retief Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open champion. "It didn't seem all that much different from [Friday]. If you hit it poorly you're going to struggle. If you keep it in play you have a chance. The greens are rolling perfect, so you can make some putts out there."
Goosen, who has struggled with a bad back in recent years, shot 64 last Saturday at the Valspar Championship only to follow up with a 79. He doesn't want a repeat. "I did have a good day last week on Saturday, then I had another one on Sunday, the wrong way," he said. "Maybe tomorrow I can have another solid round."
McDowell not only had the best round, but the most impressive turnaround. A MasterCard ambassador, McDowell shot 5-over 77 on Friday without a birdie only to improve by 10 shots without a bogey on Saturday. Switching drivers was partly responsible for the improvement. The former U.S. Open champion hit only eight fairways on Friday; he was 14-of-14 on Saturday.
"Yesterday was about as poorly as I've driven it in 10 years," said the affable native of Northern Ireland. "Today, I don't think I missed a fairway. The rest of my game has been solid, so I knew if I could get it in play here, I could shoot a good number."
McDowell got his round going with a 13-foot birdie at the par-4 eighth, ending a 31-hole drought. "The floodgates kind of opened up for me after that," he said with a smile. "It's nice to go out there and make a bit of a move. It gives me something to go out and play for tomorrow."
That's the point of moving day: move up for the chance to keep moving up.