SANDY Brendon Todd saw his luck take a sour turn earlier this summer. His golf clubs were stolen on a flight to Canada and Todd ended up making due with some random clubs for five weeks until his old clubs could be adequately replaced.
At the Willow Creek Country Club, Todd has enjoyed the sort of good play normally reserved for people who own rabbit's feet or find four-leaf clovers.
The 24-year-old rookie from Atlanta shot a 6-under-par 65 on Saturday afternoon to seize the lead from Marc Leishman going into today's final round of the Utah Championship. Todd stands at 195 through three rounds, which set a new event record for the lowest three-round score.
"I've played great all three days," Todd said. "Today I was able to stay patient and eliminate the bogeys."
Todd missed a birdie opportunity on No. 1 when he came up short on a 6-foot putt. But, after that, he dropped in a 25-foot putt for a birdie on No. 6, chipped in for birdie on No. 10 and sank birdies on three of his last five holes coming in.
Now his goal is to finish strong on the final day, something he has struggled to do this season. Todd feels good about his chances this time around because he thinks the course layout favors his playing style.
"This is a great course for me," Todd said. "We've done our best adjusting to the altitude."
A bogey on No. 17 dropped Leishman a stroke behind Todd at 196. Leishman shot a 3-under 68, three strokes higher than his previous two days at Willow Creek. Kyle Thompson had an identical third-round score to Leishman to remain within two strokes of the lead at 197.
Jonathan Fricke and Rob Grube both put together incredible rounds to make drastic moves up the leaderboard. Grube shot an 8-under 63 to move into a tie for fifth at 201. Fricke shot 7-under to move into fourth place at 200, five strokes behind Todd.
Fricke made eight birdies compared to only one bogey. His lone misstep came on No. 9 when Fricke hooked the ball left into the water.
But he tore it up on other holes especially whenever he came to a par-5, the type of hole where he has flourished all three days.
"I chipped and putted as good as I ever have," Fricke said.
Former BYU golfer Clay Ogden bounced back from a rough start to move into a tie for 15th at 203. Ogden dug himself into an early hole when he double-bogeyed No. 1.
"You have to get it up over those trees and I tried to swing it back toward the green," Ogden said. "I just pulled it and caught the tree. It was stupid."
He didn't waste time rallying from his mistake. Ogden came back with birdies on the next two holes a par-3 and a par-5, respectively to get back to par. His first birdie came off a 15-foot downhill putt. Ogden set up his second with a solid drive that put him only 30 yards from the green.
From there, he made a bunch of pars on the front and back nine and dropped in a 6-foot putt at No. 10 for birdie. Ogden used another birdie on his final hole to finish 3-under at 68.
He felt good about turning his near disaster into a chance for a strong finish today.
"I gave myself a chance to post a good number tomorrow and move up the board a little bit hopefully," Ogden said.
Other locals did not fare quite as well as Ogden Saturday.Fellow ex-BYU golfer Bobby Clampett shot a 71 to drop from sixth all the way into a tie for 25th at 204. Nationwide Tour regular Daniel Summerhays posted a 1-over 72, which dropped him from seventh overall into a tie for 36th at 206.
Leaderboard At Willow Creek Country Club
Brendon Todd 195Marc Leishman; 196Kyle Thompson 197Jonathan Fricke 200