Byrd makes a jump in RTO’s 3rd round

RENO – Jonathan Byrd’s last two trips to the Reno-Tahoe Open have been successful, and he’s hoping to keep that trend going.

Byrd tied for 14th in 2008 and followed that up in 2009 with a tie for 17th. He is on track for another respectable finish after compiling 11 points over the hilly Montreux Golf and Country Club for a 54-hole total of 17.

“I’m pleased,” Byrd said. “I was hoping to have a good round. It could have been better. I was at the front of the green at 18 and didn’t make birdie, and I had a 3-putt coming in. The greens are getting faster. The course is starting to firm up. They have some difficult hole locations out there.”

Byrd started his round with six straight pars before racking up birdies on Nos. 7 and 8. On the par-3 7th, Byrd stuck his tee shot about 5 feet from the pin, and he chipped in from the rough for his two-pointer on 8.

“I played eight terrible,” said Byrd, whose approach missed the green. His third shot failed to reach the green, too.

After three straight pars, he bogeyed No. 12, but then bounced back with an eagle on the par-5 13th. From 234 yards away, he stuck his approach shot to 4½ feet and made the putt. On the 305-yard 14th, which was actually playing 270 yards, Byrd drove the green and two-putted from 67 feet to get to 16 points. He added a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 15 before bogeying the par-3 16th.

Hole report

The par-4 5th was the toughest hole Saturday, playing to a 4.300 average. The easiest hole was the par-5 13th, which averaged 4.543.

There were 10 eagles on the day, three on the par-5 2nd, three on the par-5 18th, two on the par-5 13th, one on the par-4 14th and one on the par-5 8th.

The field played to a 71.086 average Saturday, and the cumulative scoring average is 71.901.

The right attitude

David Toms has been around for more than 20 years, and despite the fact it will take a tremendous three weeks to make the FedEx Cup playoffs, he doesn’t seem worried.

“I try not to get too worked up about it anymore,” Toms said. “Certainly I’d like to finish off well and try to get myself in the playoffs, and you never know after that.

“I’m going to grind it out these last three weeks and see if I can move up some and start to play well. I feel better about my game. I just couldn’t get rounds on the board like I did today (15 points on Friday). I finally started making some putts, which I haven’t done all year.”

Toms will be at next week’s PGA Championship, and he was asked how playing the RTO with its Modified Stableford scoring would help him get ready.

“I don’t know,” Toms said. “You tend to play a little aggressive, which probably wouldn’t work well next week. Just to get some good solid rounds under my belt and a good round like today and maybe getting in contention that would be a good thing.”

Facts and figures

The third-round leader has won 13 of 30 72-hole stroke play events this season. The latest was Brandt Snedeker. As far as the RTO goes, the third-round leader has won eight of the previous 14 events, including 2012 winner J.J. Henry … Five players — Michael Bradley (plus-6), Brad Fritsch (plus-10), Brian Harman (plus-4), Brendon Todd (plus-8) and Marc Turnesa (plus-12) — posted bogey-free rounds. In the previous two rounds, 11 players posted bogey-free rounds … Only four of eight past champions made the cut — Vaughn Taylor (T-24th), Chris Riley (T-44), Matt Bettencourt (20) and John Rollins (18).

Weather report

It’s been a tremendous week for weather in Reno, and today’s forecast is no different. The high today is expected to hit 86 degrees, with winds between 5 and 20 mph during the day.


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