NORTON, Mass. – Graham DeLaet began the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship with a bogey on the short par-4 first hole. To say that things improved from there for the 31-year-old would be an understatement.
DeLaet played the subsequent 17 holes in 10 under, closing with a stretch of five birdies across his final seven holes to card a 9-under 62 and move to within three shots of leader Sergio Garcia after 54 holes. The round marked the lowest score this week at TPC Boston, as well as the best round of DeLaet’s PGA Tour career on a day where soggy conditions allowed the field to play lift, clean and place.
“It’s one of those days that doesn’t come along as often as you’d like,” explained DeLaet, who took just 25 putts during the third round. “I was seeing the lines great and made pretty much every putt that I would expect to make, along with a couple 20-footers.”
A co-runner-up last week at The Barclays, DeLaet has played himself into a position to qualify for the International Team at this year’s Presidents Cup. Another solid round at TPC Boston would solidify the Canadian’s spot at Muirfield Village in October, a feat that he admitted after the round Sunday has been a goal of his for some time.
“It would mean the world to me to be on that team, there’s no question,” explained DeLaet, who entered this week clinging to the 10th and final automatic qualifying spot in the International standings. “I’ve been focused on what I need to do and I’m proud of the way I’ve handled it, because there is a lot of pressure on the outside.”
As a native of Saskatchewan and avid fan of the Calgary Flames, DeLaet is well aware of the notion of a “playoff” beard worn by many hockey players. Thanks to a flurry of birdies, DeLaet – along with his facial hair – received plenty of attention Sunday in Boston.
“I’m Canadian, that’s what we do in the playoffs,” he added. “You don’t shave until you’re done.”