Perrys gilt-edged round tied the lowest score on the PGA Tour this year, set by three players. It wasnt the lowest round according to par since Perry was playing at the Colonial, which is contended on a par-70 course. But the sparkler vaulted him to front at 17-under 193, eight strokes ahead of second-place Rory Sabbatini.
Ive never seen a day when I was as calm as I was for 18 holes, an awestruck Perry said after it was over. And for every iron I hit, it seemed like every one went at the flag. I just had birdie putts after birdie putts after birdie putts out there. I didnt chip any. I think I missed two greens, but both greens I missed, I was able to putt.
Perry had a 64 Friday to go with his sizzler Saturday. He tied the Colonial course record set by Keith Clearwater and Lee Janzen in 1993 and tied by Greg Kraft in 1999.
Ive shot some course records that have been broken ' I shot 63 at Muirfield and I shot 62 at Riviera, said Perry. But when I walked off the green there, I felt like I did about as good as I could. Today I felt like I could have shot in the 50s. And I didnt know if that was possible or not. It was just a good round for me.
Perry birdied the first three holes Saturday to get rolling. He then birdied Nos. 7 and 9 to turn the front side in 29. The back side was more of the same, Perry rolling in birdies at Nos. 11, 14 and 17 to score 32 on that nine.
Kenny definitely seemed like he was playing a different golf course than the rest of us ' a super round, said Jim Furyk, who is in third place but so far from the lead (nine strokes) that he seems in a different time zone. My hats off to him.
Sabbatini is left to struggle with playing catch-up, though he stands in second place.
Tomorrow will hold what it holds, he says. Kennys a great golfer. Hes a solid golfer. Hes been out here for a long time, thats for sure. And I think catching him is going to be a really tough thing to do. Im pretty sure the way hes playing, hes not looking at going out there and trying to maintain. Im pretty sure hes looking to even perform better, and post a better score.
Jeff Sluman is at 7-under, in a fourth-place tie, and normally would still have a decent shot at the lead. Here, he is seriously doubtful that he can overcome Perrys 10-shot lead on him.
Unfortunately, theres nothing I can do about Kenny, he said. I played with him last week. He didnt putt very well, missed the cut by a bunch of shots at the (Byron) Nelson, but he was hitting the ball very well, like he always does.
Obviously, between then and now, hes worked on his putting and he seems to be holding his own today.
Perry hit every shot just about as perfectly as he could.
I dont know if I missed a fairway today, he said. I dont remember ' oh, I did at 6. I hit it in the left fairway bunker. But other than that, I remember every ball was in the fairway and every iron was at the flag.
I cant remember holding it together that many holes in a row for one round of golf. Ive had stretches where you have it six, seven, eight holes. But I dont remember having this many.
So Perry, who is an fairly anonymous player though he has performed on tour for 17 years, takes a big lead into Sunday's final round. But he doesnt mind being overlooked.
No, he laughed. They have never paid any attention to me anyway. So it doesnt matter to me at all.