John Mallinger retains the lead ahead of the final round of the Frys.com Open. However, whereas he was four shots clear before play on Saturday he now has just a two shot advantage over Jonas Blixt of Sweden. There are 10 players within five shots of the lead.
Mallinger’s best finish to date was second place at the Humana Challenge in January. In that tournament he broke 70 in each round so he proved that he could maintain his form when contending. He did nothing wrong over the weekend. It’s just that Mark Wilson held more putts down the stretch.
Mallinger is currently 88th in the FedEx Cup rank so he has no concerns about retaining his playing privileges for next year. The leading 125 players in the Money List at the end of the season keep their cards for 2013. Mallinger is 169th in the Official World Ranking so a win this week would help him get close to the top 100 in the standings.
The winning score in the two years that CordeValle in California has hosted this tournament has been 15 and 17 under. Those totals are looking to be matched at least this week and the tournament winner on Sunday may need to go as low as 20 under.
Charles Howell (pictured) made significant progress with a third round 66, 5 under par. Two bogeys on the back nine were offset by seven birdies in total and Howell is now in good shape to add to his career tally of 2 Tour wins.
Blixt moved up five places, also after a round of 66. His only blemish was a bogey on the third and five birdies on the back nine gives him a great opportunity to improve on his third place finish at the JT Shriners Open last week.
The key hole on Sunday will be the short reachable par 4 17th. Significantly Mallinger laid up and missed a short birdie putt and that wasted opportunity could have great significance on Sunday afternoon.