ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Denny McCarthy made a mess of the eighth hole Saturday at the RSM Classic. There was a drive into a native area, a penalty stroke, a poor chip and putt that all added up to a double bogey-6.
He was still smiling.
McCarthy’s third-round 65 moved him into a tie for 12th place and within five shots of the lead thanks to a brilliant opening nine holes on the Seaside Course’s greens.
McCarthy, who started his round on No. 10, made a 29-footer for birdie at No. 11, 7-footer for birdie at No. 13, 31-footer for birdie at No. 14, 23-footer for eagle at No. 15 and capped that run with a 23-footer for birdie at the 16th hole. He picked up more than five shots in strokes gained: putting, a career-best mark, and rolled in 157 feet of putts, also a career-best line.
“My putter's usually my strong suit and I've gotten on some hot runs before, so I was waiting for a day like today for a little while. It was nice to have my putter warm up a little bit,” he said. “It felt hot in my hands.”
McCarthy, who started the day nine shots off the lead, has always ranked among the PGA Tour’s best putters but struggled this year on the greens. He said the difference on Saturday was keeping things simple. “Not too mechanical. I treat it as an art form and just have fun with it,” he said.