BOISE — Its already been a wild and historic week through three rounds of the Boise Open.
Theres been a 59. Theres been a hole-in-one. Golfers set the lowest scoring average Friday, and then went even lower Saturday.
Well, welcome to Sunday.
Tennessee golfer Philip Pettitt Jr. shot a third-round 63 to grab the lead at the 24th annual event at Hillcrest Country Club on Saturday. But plenty of drama will unfold before the winner claims his share ($139,500) of the $775,000 purse.
Im excited for Sunday, Pettitt said. Theres going to be a lot of people who will shoot low. Itll get bunched up, and it will be exciting.
Chasing Pettitt will be 15 golfers within three strokes of the lead.
Thats enough to make any leader nervous. But get this: Pettitt has never led after any round in his previous 48 career starts on the Web.com Tour.
Could be a little rattling, right?
Im not going to sit here and tell you its not, Pettitt said. But Ive won three times on the Hooters Tour in (2011). Its a different stage, I get that, but winning is winning, and Ive done it before and I just have to remember that.
The University of Tennessee product, who leads the field in greens in regulation, vowed to live in the moment while chasing his first victory on the Web.com Tour.
This is what we live for, weeks like this when things are going good and youre in the hunt, Pettitt said. Its the best feeling ever.
There are plenty of other golfers who will like their chances heading into Sunday, starting with Russell Knox, who made a little history with that round of 59 Friday.
The Scottish golfer sits alone in second place at 17-under, one stroke behind Pettitt, after shooting a bogey-free 68 on Saturday.
Knox knew going into the day that he gave himself a tough act to follow.
How could it not be after a day where I holed all the putts? Knox said. To shoot 3-under, no bogeys, that was a great round after you shoot 59, I think.
And with his newfound fame, he did it in front of a sizable crowd.
Feels pretty neat, he said. This is what we all want. We all want to be on the big tour with the big crowds, and this is one of the better-supported tournaments on the Web.com Tour.
Still in the hunt
After Pettitt and Knox, there are any number of golfers who might factor into Sundays finish.
Theres Michael Connell, who had the best round of the day Saturday, a 10-under 61 that would have tied the course record prior to Knoxs 59. The Texan bettered his previous career low by three strokes, and he is in a group of six golfers two strokes off the lead.
Look for Connell to keep things rolling with his new putter.
I switched putters this week for the first time in two years, the Texan said. It saved me at the end of the round (Friday). I got it going again (Saturday) inside, 12, 15 feet, which is nice.
Theres Will MacKenzie, who missed the cut in his previous two appearances in Boise, but will be at 16-under heading into Sunday. Connell started his round early Saturday, and MacKenzie figures another golfer might set the standard early Sunday.
Someone in the morning is going to shoot 8 or 9, MacKenzie said. Somebody that is about 10-under will shoot a real low one when the course is nice and soft. Then its going to be fun. Theres no telling whats going to happen.
Which brings us to former Boise State golfer Troy Merritt, who barely made the cut but now is four shots back after a 63.
There have been three different leaders through the first three rounds, so who knows who might come from back in the pack to claim the winners prize. Maybe it will be Merritt. Maybe not. But he knows what its going to take.
Its going to take a lot of birdies to win this thing, he said.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424