Webb Simpson’s third round 67 put him at 9-under, good enough for a two shot lead over Paul Casey going into Sunday’s final round at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.
For the second consecutive day, the combination of the Texas heat (and humidity) and gusty winds played a huge role throughout the round. Saturday’s high temperature was 96 and the heat index was 108.
“I think the big thing for me was that I was hitting it in the fairway, when you start hitting in the rough, you start guessing and you’re dealing with jumpers, you’re dealing with the wind,” Simpson said. “At least in the fairway, you’re in control. Didn’t feel easy. It’s 100 degrees out there. Knowing that caddies are going down, we were just trying to stay upright.”
The caddie Simpson was referring to was defending champion Jordan Spieth’s looper, Michael Greller, who bowed out after the 11th hole.
“I guess he (Greller) had told Damon, mine and Kelly’s trainer, before the round, but he didn’t tell me at all until we were walking down the 11th and he said ‘Hey, this is my last hole.’ I was kind of surprised,” Spieth said. “Damon came on the bag, he’s caddied for me before. Michael was really sick in Houston in 2014 and Damon caddied the first round … it was nice to finish strong. Mike said he’ll be plenty fine by tomorrow. Just needed to pack it in, otherwise something really bad could have happened. It was a no-brainer situation.”
Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia are among the big names that are also within within striking distance of Simpson’s lead. Rahm battled his way to an even-par 70 and Masters champion Garcia shot 1-over.
“The wind actually helps because it cools you down,” Rahm said. “The heat, couple courses — couple spots on the course makes it tough. Especially me. I’m a person that’s warm and usually hot. A place like this — look at all of you (media members) in the shade right now. Nobody is in the sun.”
Graeme McDowell is playing in his first event at Colonial and is sitting in a tie for 15th at 2-under.
Billy Horschel, last week’s winner at the AT&T Byron Nelson, is in a tie for 22nd after firing his third consecutive 70.
Two-time Colonial champion Phil Mickelson is playing in this event for the first time since 2010. He goes into Sunday in a tie for 32nd at 1-over.
Zach Johnson, another two-time Colonial champion, has had a rough couple of days and sits at 7-over in a tie for 65th on the heels of back-to-back 75s.