NORTON — Knowing that the Sunday weather forecast was ominous, Tom Brodeur was forced into a situation that, fortunately, he hasn’t faced too many times.
Brodeur, a greens superintendent who has been at TPC Boston since the inception of the Deutsche Bank Championship, had to deal with a weather delay Sunday morning that suspended play for 3½ hours. But because he knew it might be coming, Brodeur was able to improvise, with the plan to prepare the course actually starting on Saturday evening.
“We just made sure [Saturday] night we could get everything done: mowing greens, fairways, tees, collars,” Brodeur said. “We had a lot of extra bodies, volunteers, so we just maxed out [Saturday] night.”
More than three-10ths of an inch of rain fell here on Sunday. The bulk of it came in the morning, which forced just the second weather delay in the tournament’s 11-year history. But everyone finished their rounds, continuing a trend since the first round in 2003: There’s never been a round pushed into the next day because of inclement weather. Every round has started and ended on the day in which it was scheduled, a remarkable stroke of luck.
Brodeur’s team re-raked some bunkers once the rain ended — six groups were on the course when play was interrupted at 8:46 a.m. — and checked low spots for standing water. There was none.
Monday brings another dicey day of weather, which has forced the PGA Tour to alter tee times. Groups will be sent off in threesomes again, using a split-tee start at Nos. 1 and 10, starting at 8 a.m. The final group of Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, and Graham DeLaet is scheduled to start at 10. It might not be the firm course Brodeur would have preferred to offer the world’s best players, but he knows rain is about the only thing out of his control.
“You work hard to get firmness and speed, and unfortunately that goes away once you get rain,” Brodeur said. “But weather’s part of the game.”
On a day in which 65 of the 76 players broke or matched par, Tiger Woods wasn’t one of them. Only six shots back at the start of the third round and tied for 20th, Woods played his way out of the tournament with a 72. He’s tied for 47th now, 13 shots back.
“I had a bad day at the wrong time,” said Woods, who was greeted by his 6-year-old daughter, Sam, after his round. “I didn’t hit it well and didn’t make anything. So, it added up to 1 over today.”
Phil Mickelson didn’t have quite the roller coaster he did on Saturday, but also didn’t make the kind of run he was looking for, especially when he sounded so optimistic after his second-round 71. He shot another 71, and is at 8 under.
Since torching the back nine with a 28 in the first round, he’s gone 37-37 on those holes the last two days.
Making his move
Marc Leishman has been in this position once before. He arrived at TPC Boston four years ago outside the number needed to qualify for the next playoff event, and in 2009 he waited until the last minute, making an eagle at the 72d hole to advance. He parlayed that into winning the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award.
A third-round 64 has Leishman inside the bubble once again, this time with one round remaining. He arrived here No. 76 in the points standings — only the top 70 move on — and because of his T9 through 54 holes is now projected to be 54th.
“I’d rather not have to do that, but the one time I’ve had to I’ve managed to do it,” Leishman said. “Hopefully I can have a solid round tomorrow and not only cement my spot in the BMW but also put a dent in the Tour Championship, as well.”
Leishman also has his eye on an automatic spot on the International team for the upcoming Presidents Cup. He’s currently 13th, and only the top 10 make the team on points. Like the US side, there will two captain’s picks announced on Wednesday.
As it stands, there are six players projected to jump into the top 70. In addition to Leishman, they are No. 73 Nicholas Thompson (projected 51st), No. 74 K.J. Choi (61st), No. 75 Kevin Stadler (40th), No. 77 Ian Poulter (45th), and No. 80 Brian Davis (60th).
Most days, shooting 67 on the PGA Tour is cause for some level of celebration, since it usually means a 4- or 5-under round. In Keegan Bradley’s opinion, his Sunday 67 was closer to an even-par day.
“I shot 4 under, but it should have been a lot lower. Strange,” Bradley said. “The scores were really low, so 4 under is about even par today, it seems like.”
Scoring average on the third round was 68.211, nearly a shot lower than Friday. Because he got it to 12 under (he was 11 under after eight holes, and could only make one more birdie over his final 10), Bradley was shown quite a bit on TV Sunday. Mostly for his golf, but partly because of his shoes. Bradley is wearing new Michael Jordan golf shoes made by Nike. He’s become friends the past few years with the iconic basketball star.
“I’m good buddies with MJ, and we’re kind of working our way into the shoes,” Bradley said. “It’s fun to be able to wear Jumpman shoes.”
Defending champion Rory McIlroy had his best round of the week, a 7-under-par 64 that put a smile on his face. Or it could have been the appearance of girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, who lost on Saturday night in the US Open tennis tournament. McIlroy, at 8 under, is tied for 29th, pretty much guaranteeing that there will still not be a repeat Deutsche Bank Championship winner . . . How to pass the time during a weather delay? For a handful of PGA Tour players, it was putting the feet up and watching some Premier League soccer action. Poulter and Lee Westwood were following the Liverpool-Manchester United match, which was won by Liverpool, 1-0. That made Poulter happy . . . There were 10 more eagles in the third round, bringing the tournament total to 29. Seven of Sunday’s 10 came at the 18th hole . . . As you’ve seen if you’ve watched any of NBC’s coverage, there have been 36 holeouts through three rounds . . . A reminder that Monday has been designated “Boston Strong Day,” with spectators asked to wear blue or yellow to show their support for the marathon bombing victims.