Notes Zachs Snowman Art Work


WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio -- Eight holes into the third round of the Bridgestone Invitational on Saturday, Zach Johnson was tied for the lead. That melted away on one hole.
'I tried to play safe every shot. I tried to play the percentages on every single shot,' he said, recapping the par-4 hole. 'And I had to hit a 4-footer for an 8.'
Gamely trying to make light of the situation, he added, 'It was a good 8.'
The reigning Masters champion was 1-under on the day and 5-under for the tournament and tied for the lead with playing partner Rory Sabbatini as he stepped to the ninth tee.
But Johnson's drive went into the thick, clingy, deep grass right of the fairway. It grabbed his club and caused his second shot to go across the fairway into the left rough. The best he could do from there was to muscle the ball short of the green, where he chipped over the green into more of the thick stuff.
He barely advanced his first chip, then came up short of the green with his second. From there he was able to chop the ball on the green with his seventh shot and hit the putt for the quadruple-bogey.
Still not over the ninth, he came back with a double-bogey 6 on the 10th. Johnson finished with a 76 and enters the final round tied for 11th, six shots back of Sabbatini.
'I tried to be conservative. I tried to take the smart approach, which is how I play,' he said. 'I got slapped around pretty good.'
Someone painted an obscene sketch near the middle of the fourth green sometime between the end of the second and the beginning of the third round of the Bridgestone Invitational.
'It was vandalism,' PGA TOUR tournament director Slugger White said. 'We put some green sand on it to try to mask it as best we could.'
But that didn't do the job. The paint was clearly visible to players. As he played the fourth hole, Tiger Woods glanced at it and smiled.
He laughed as he later called it one of the strangest things he has seen at a tournament -- including streakers at the British Open.
Tournament officials said they were able to use the original third-round pin placement, which was on the back left portion of the green. The final-round pin placement also will not be affected by the paint. It will be on the back right quadrant of the green.
'I guess we got lucky as far as that goes,' PGA TOUR tournament official Dillard Pruitt said. 'It could have been a lot worse. I know at Pebble three years ago or whatever, somebody basically took a shovel and dug on the 10th green. ... It was bad. We had to fill and actually hold up play a little bit.'
Since the Bridgestone Invitational is running concurrently with the Pro Football Hall of Fame weekend in nearby Canton, hotel rooms are scarce and those that are available have doubled in price.
Ben Curtis is a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan. Since he also represents the NFL on tour, wearing the colors and logos of the nearest pro teams at each tournament, it's only natural to wonder what he thinks about the contract impasse between the Browns and quarterback draftee Brady Quinn.
'Just sign. Come on,' Curtis said after playing in the second round of the Bridgestone Invitational at Akron Firestone Country Club. 'I know he wants to think he's a great quarterback and I'm sure he is, but obviously ... there's a reason why he was 22nd (in the first round of the draft). Just prove it on the field if that's what you think you are. You're still going to make a lot of money. That's the thing, it's still not like he's not going to make a lot of money.'
By the way, Curtis said he doesn't seem to play better or worse wearing any particular team's colors -- even those of Browns' rivals Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.
'It's not the clothes,' he said. 'It's the guy in the clothes.'
Tied for the lead with Rory Sabbatini, Tiger Woods pulled his drive on the par-4 13th hole far to the left -- so far left that it ended up in the 14th fairway. Woods then powered a shot high over the trees lining both sides of the parallel fairways that traveled 192 yards into the bunker off the back right corner of the 13th green. From there he blasted to 4 1/2 feet short of the cup and rolled in his par putt, preserving a share of the lead.
Joe Durant, in third place at one point, finished bogey, double-bogey to shoot a 71 that left him at 2-over 212 and six shots off the lead.
'It (the course) is very difficult, and I kind of proved that the last two holes,' he said.
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