Robert Allenby was all over the place on his way to a 1-over 71.
The four pars and seven birdies could have kept him in serious contention Saturday at the AT&T National. The six bogeys and one double bogey wiped him out of nipping at the lead.
“I guess if you hit in the rough here, you pay the penalties,” he said. “Tomorrow it would be nice to just make seven birdies and no bogeys at all. Or doubles. I don’t know what’s going on. Seriously. It’s one of those weeks.”
Allenby played with a taped left wrist after he was recently injured in a boating accident. The Australian has inflamed tendons and didn’t practice last week to heal up heading into Aronimink Golf Club.
“It’s not hurting me so that’s a good thing,” Allenby said.
Allenby was at 3 under and only four strokes back heading into Saturday. He’s eight strokes behind of leader Justin Rose entering the final day. He hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2001 in western Pennsylvania.
“When you’re just not quite in sync, there are going to be a few mysteries there,” he said.
BRITISH HOPES: A trophy is at stake in the final round of the AT&T National, and so are three spots in the British Open.
Justin Rose has locked up one spot through a special money list that ends on Sunday. That’s about the only thing certain.
Bubba Watson, who is not playing this week, appears to have the second spot sewed up for St. Andrews. But if Carl Pettersson, Charlie Wi, Jason Day, Ryan Moore or Jeff Overton were to win, they would go to No. 2 on that special money list and bump Watson.
The third spot is offered to a player among the top five finishers at Aronimink who are not already in the British Open. Among the candidates for that spot: Pettersson, Wi, Overton, Day, Moore and even John Merrick.
WOUNDED McCARRON: Scott McCarron popped a couple of pain relievers walking down the sixth fairway, sensing this might be a long day. By the 13th hole he hit his tee shot, then laid down on an ice chest to stretch his back.
“It’s been like that for a couple of weeks,” said McCarron, who struggled in for a 73 while playing with Tiger Woods. “Every day has been a battle. The guys in the (physical therapy) trailer have been doing a great job to just keep me playing.”
Rest would help. But there’s no time for that.
McCarron is 133rd on the money list due to a poor start to the year, part of that undoubtedly for taking a strong stand against Phil Mickelson and others using square grooves from Ping clubs made before 1990.
He is playing the John Deere Classic next week, then is the unofficial host of the Reno-Tahoe Open, where he lives. Then it’s off to the Canadian Open. He needs to move up the money list and FedExCup standings, and the only way to do that is to play.
“I’m embarrassing to hit it like that,” McCarron said. “I have a new driver and a bad back. You do the best you can. I’m in a position where I have to keep playing.”
When it was jokingly suggested that McCarron miss the cut to take a few days off, he laughed and shot back, “I’ve done that enough already.”
LOCAL FAVORITES: Sean O’Hair and Jim Furyk have the home crowd on their side. They hope they can deliver a performance worth cheering for on Sunday.
O’Hair, who makes his home in the Philadelphia area and is an Aronimink member, was even at 70. Furyk, born in the nearby Philly suburb of West Chester and raised in Lancaster, shot a 1-under 69.
O’Hair has been bothered by persistent back pain. His left side flared up Saturday after the right side caused most of the discomfort this week. He’s also been congested.
“It hasn’t been a good week health-wise,” he said.
O’Hair is nine strokes back of leader Justin Rose and believes he’s in striking distance for Sunday.
“I’m probably hitting the ball just about as good as anybody out here this week,” he said. “I think I’ve had the game to win, but the putter’s just keeping me out of it.”
For years, Furyk hosted the one-day Exelon Invitational at various stops throughout the state. His event was the only professional golf that the Philadelphia area had on a yearly basis.
He hasn’t held the informal exhibition since 2009 and doesn’t expect it to return.
“There’s nothing stirring up right now,” he said.
Furyk missed lobbying other golfers to come to Pennsylvania and play in the one-day event that was traditionally held after the Memorial.
“It’s not always comfortable trying to corral people,” he said. “I appreciate the quality of guys we had and I probably owe some favors after 11 years of that event.”
MAJOR ACHEIVEMENT: Aronimink Golf Club was widely praised this weekend and several players have made their pitch for the course to host a major.
The PGA Championship is a possible candidate, but it could be another decade or so before it could host it. The AT&T National returns here next year and the nearby Merion Golf Club will host the U.S. Open in 2013.
Tiger Woods, the world’s No. 1 player, endorsed Aronimink for future consideration for the PGA Championship.
“I think the only thing that would be lacking is the distance,” he said. “But if they narrow up these fairways, this is playing very similar to what a Merion would be. I think that would be the only difference.”
NOTES: Overheard in the gallery: On Graham DeLaet’s orange pants. “That’s out of the Herb Tarlek collection.” On Tiger Woods’ shot into the gallery. “He’s back to 3. Has a great shot of back to 4.” … Jack Whitaker was briefly back in the booth for CBS. Whitaker, a Philadelphia native, covered golf for the network for two decades.