Saturday's final group makes a mess of back nine


Wesley Bryan

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Saturday was not a good day to be in the anchor pairing at the Honda Classic.

Wesley Bryan and Ryan Palmer shared the 36-hole lead, but after a tumultuous trip around the Champion Course both found themselves well behind leader Rickie Fowler.

Palmer made only one birdie en route to a 3-over 73, a score that dropped him into a tie for eighth at 6 under. Bryan was able to do only one better, posting a 2-over to move into a tie for third.

The rookie now trails Fowler by six shots and offered a candid assessment of where things so often go wrong at this particular course.

“Don’t hit it in the water,” Bryan said. “Did that two holes in a row, and you see where it left me.”

The two holes in question were Nos. 14 and 15, where Bryan went bogey-double bogey to fall off the pace. Despite the errors, he was able to find positives in his performance and focused largely on birdie putts that dropped the first two rounds but didn’t find the target in Round 3.

“Really there wasn’t much different going on,” he said. “The 2 over could have been 2 or 3 under really easily. It’s not like I played bad, I just didn’t capitalize.”

Bryan entered off a T-4 finish last week at the Genesis Open, and another high finish could go a long way toward securing his card for the 2017-18 season. While that may serve as a nice perk, Bryan remains focused on the task of chasing down Fowler and potentially nabbing his first career Tour victory.

“Right now it’s just trying to catch Rickie,” he said. “I watched him play from behind all day, and it looked like he was hitting it well. It’s going to be a tall task, but that’s the first and foremost goal.”