Players pleasantly surprised with Sunday conditions


SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – Steve Stricker had a 5 a.m. wakeup call on Sunday, but his biggest surprise was not hitting the snooze button.

The third round of the PGA Championship resumed on time, at 7 a.m., despite heavy rain Saturday afternoon and evening that wiped out play before the leaders could even make their way to the first tee.

“Everything is wet,” Stricker said after finishing his third round, “but it wasn’t too bad. I was pleasantly surprised we were able to get it in and get it done.”

Expecting more rain Sunday, the PGA of America made the unusual decision to play preferred lies for the final round, which began at 8:40 a.m. in the same pairings as Round 3. That announcement came after Kerry Haigh, the PGA’s chief championships officer, said that it was “very unlikely” that they’d allow lift, clean and place in the fairways.

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Paul Casey said he had a few mud balls while finishing play in the third round, but overall conditions were “pretty good, actually.” Playing the ball up could speed up the pace of play, he said, because it would eliminate some of the rulings for casual water.

“I’m shocked,” Brandt Snedeker said. “I thought it was going to be underwater. It wasn’t bad at all.”

Baltusrol has received more than five inches of rain since Monday. Any further weather delays Sunday would result in the first Monday finish at the PGA since it last came here in 2005.