Nick Watney posted a course record 62 to take a share of the lead after the third round of the AT&T National at Aronimik, Philadelphia. On a day where Aronimik was surprisingly genteel with several low rounds being posted, Watney set the new course record just minutes after Chris Kirk had set a new benchmark 63.
Watney, who could take over from LukeDonald at the top of the FedEx Cup standings with a win, was slow to come to the boil, turning in level par after matching two birdies with two bogeys. However, coming home Watney shifted up several gears to post six birdies and an eagle without reply to climb from 1-under par to the top of the leaderboard.
He was joined at the top by Rickie Fowler who posted a 64, including starting his round with three birdies in his first four holes. It might have been four straight, but his birdie putt on the 3rd slipped past on the right side of the hole. He then added further birdies on the 7th and 9th to turn in 30 shots, but after two more birdies at the 10th and 16th holes, Fowler dropped a shot on the par-3 17th.
“I got out, and my game has been feeling good all week,” Fowler said. “Went out and started off well, hit some good shots and kept moving from there.”
40 of the 76 players contesting the weekend posted a score in the 60; a far cry from day one which saw only 28 of 120 players break par.
Overnight leader K.J Choi was one of them, and after opening his third round with a birdie he went on to drop three shots in four holes between the 3rd and 6th holes. A birdie at the 7th was cancelled out by another dropped shot at the 9th as the South Korean’s challenge began to falter. But the Players Championship winner dug deep to post three birdies on the homeward nine for a round of 69.
Steve Marino posted a then course-record equalling 63 to move to 7-under for the tournament and into a share of fourth beside Webb Simpson and Adam Scott, who posted rounds of 64 and 66 respectively while Chris Kirk – who beat the previous course record with the first 63 of the day, only to see it later tied by Marino and then bettered by Watney – shared a six-way tie on 6-under which included tipster pick Jeff Overton.