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Van Pelt beats rain at PGA; waiting game begins

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KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – A bit of good fortune – and good hustle – allowed Bo Van Pelt to finish his third round Saturday before a line of severe thunderstorms socked Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.

Indeed, mere minutes before play was suspended, Van Pelt tapped in for a bogeyless, 5-under 67 to post 3-under 213.

Where that leaves him heading into the final round, however, remains to be seen.

Said Van Pelt, now in a tie for fifth, just three shots off the current lead held by Rory McIlroy and Vijay Singh: “It’s nice to just be done for the day and get to go home and relax.”

Many of the other contenders weren’t quite as fortunate.

With severe weather moving through the Charleston area, play was suspended at 4:50 p.m. EDT and called for the day at 6:30. That means many players near the top of the leaderboard – Rory McIlroy, Vijay Singh, Adam Scott, etc. – have at least 11 holes to finish Sunday morning, making an already stressful final day even more so.

But hey, if nothing else, they may catch a break with the weather.

Obviously, the Ocean Course will be softened even further by the heavy downpour, and the forecast for Sunday is ideal: temperatures in the upper-80s, with only a 20 percent chance of precipitation and light winds – conditions that could prove more favorable for scoring.

Said Van Pelt, “They might get the good end of it or the bad end of it.”

Whatever the case, it probably doesn’t hurt Van Pelt to watch it all play out from the clubhouse, or his rental villa.  The 37-year-old never has finished better than T-8 (2011 Masters) in golf’s biggest events, and this major season has been particularly frustrating, finishing no better than T-17, despite posting eight top-10 finishes in 19 PGA Tour events.

Also sure to be on Van Pelt’s mind Sunday: the Ryder Cup. He’s currently 15th in points, and likely needs a win or runner-up finish to move into the top 8 and earn an automatic spot on the U.S. team.  

“I did what I could do (Saturday),” said Van Pelt, who began the day in 24th place after consecutive rounds of 73, “and I’m sure before I go to bed tonight I’ll know kind of where I stand going into tomorrow and see what happens.”