Sowards, '04 National Champion, climbs leaderboard with 70

Bob Sowards
PGA of America
Bob Sowards fired a 2-under 70 in the third round of the PGA Professional National Championship on Tuesday.
By T.J. Auclair, Senior Interactive Producer
PGA.com
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Series: Golf Buzz

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Low scores have proven to be hard to come by in the third round of the 47th PGA Professional National Championship.

One of those low scores belonged to 2004 National Champion Bob Sowards. Sowards fired a 2-under 70 at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club Tuesday to get to 1 over for the week.

"I don't think the course could have played any easier yesterday and 5 under was leading," Sowards said. "I felt like Grand Dunes was the more gettable course. I know Jamie Broce is playing well. I don't know he's game well, but he seems to be the only one that's playing super. I still think anything under par can win this tournament. Another 2 under tomorrow would get me to 1 under for the tournament. Anything in red digits might have a chance."

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The 46-year-old PGA Teaching Professional from New Albany Country Club in Ohio, had four birdies and two bogeys in the third round.

But it was a special par at the final hole to salvage the 2-under score that had Sowards smiling as he walked off the green

"That par putt on 18 was huge," he said. "I had just missed probably a 3-footer on 16 and an 8-footer, straight in putt on 17, so the 10-footer on 18 made up for it a little bit. It was huge to get in the house at 2 under instead of 1 under. It was a really good putt."

Heavy rains that fell early in the day softened the course a bit. That coupled with little wind seemed to mean prime conditions for low scores. But that just wasn't the case.

"Even though we had that rain earlier and there wasn't much wind, I think the course was still really tough today," Sowards said. "The greens are so new and so firm that it's tough to get it close when they start tucking the pins a little bit. They had a few tough pins out there today. But it's so slow out there. That's the main thing out there today -- it took over 5 1/2 hours to play. Whether it was the delay, or people grinding to make the 54-hole cut, or whatever, it was slow. I don't think the leaders will play in less than six hours. It's a grind out there."

Sowards, who has played in the PGA Championship on seven previous occasions, is looking forward to a chance to contend for a second title on Wednesday and a possible eighth PGA appearance.

"I feel great about going in to tomorrow," he said. "I played aggressive on pretty much every shot today and I feel like I played solid golf and didn't really give myself too many chances to make bogey. I gave myself a chance to make bogey on 18, but really made a good putt. If I can start making a few putts, I feel like I can shoot 4 or 5 under out there on this golf course." 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.