Brian Stuard tees off during the third round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Photo: Andy Hawley, JTV Sports
By Jeff Steers
The putter got hot for Jackson native Brian Stuard at the PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic Tournament on Saturday.
Generally known as moving day on the Tour, Stuard fired a 65 to move up more than 40 spots at the completion of his round. The leaders were just teeing off as Stuard posted his 65, moving to 13 under par for the week.
Unlike Friday, the Napoleon High School graduate started hot with a 31 on the front side. Friday he was 3 over par on the first two holes, but on Saturday he birdied both of the starting holes.
Stuard birdied the last three holes on the front nine making putts of 4, 36, and 36 feet respectively.
He birdied No. 10 for his fourth consecutive birdie, advancing to 12 under par at the time. A bogey on No. 13 was his only blemish on the card today. Stuard made putts of 14 and 16 feet respectively on holes No. 17 and 18 to finish 13 under par for three days.
Overnight leader Nate Lashley started the round at 14 under par just minutes after Stuard finished his round.
Lashley continues to lead by six strokes at 23 under par after shooting a 63 on Saturday.
Stuard is currently tied for ninth place at 13 under par.
Play will continue on Sunday with Stuard teeing off at 1:25 p.m.
The tournament will be broadcast on the Golf Channel beginning at 1 p.m. and CBS from 3 p.m. to its conclusion.
Below are quotes from Brian Stuard following the third round Saturday at the PGA Tour event Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club.
The transcript is provided by the PGA to media outlets through teescripts.com.
Q. Brian, was there a putt you saw out there today that you didn’t make?
BRIAN STUARD: There was a couple, but I made some really nice ones. The ones I made on 8 and 9 were pretty ridiculous, so that was nice.
Q. I think it was 70 feet combined on those, but 160 or so we had you for for the total round. I know this is a golf course that sets up really nicely for you beyond just for all the reasons of it being a hometown event. What was it like today out there to get into that sort of rhythm and play this golf course as it continues to firm up a little bit on the fairways?
BRIAN STUARD: Yeah, lots of fun out there. You know, I think we got a little bit of rain last night, so it was still kind of soft, but it’s one of those courses where you’ve got to just keep the foot down and keep on going.
Q. We normally talk to you about adjusting to a tournament and play. Adjusting through a tournament when there are the ticket requests, the entertaining, everything that is sort of going on, this is a completely different world for you this week on Tour. How have you managed it?
BRIAN STUARD: You know, it’s been a lot of fun. Lots of people saying hi, and it’s been great. I didn’t get to play in the Buick Open, so to play in a PGA TOUR event in Michigan’s been pretty awesome.
Q. Into tomorrow, we’ll see what this golf course does for these guys, what the number’s going to sort of look like. What do you expect from this golf course going into tomorrow and what are you most proud of you’ve done through 54 holes you want to take into tomorrow?
BRIAN STUARD: You know, I think it’s just going to be more of the same, you’re going to have to make a bunch of birdies. I’m just kind of proud of the way I’ve hung in there. I haven’t played great. I played pretty good today, but my putter’s kind of saved me, which has been nice.
Q. Brian, when was the last time you spent three consecutive days at a press podium at a golf tournament?
BRIAN STUARD: It’s been a while. I’m not even sure if I did it when I won in New Orleans. It’s pretty cool, that’s for sure.
Q. What did you do after the round yesterday to kind of regroup or whatever and what was different today?
BRIAN STUARD: I didn’t do much, just kind of tried to get a little rest. I was trying to be really determined out there to kind of bounce back from not such a great round yesterday.
Q. Can you take us through 17? BRIAN STUARD: Seventeen, it was a good drive, then I hit 3-wood just short of the green. Kind of had a not-so-great chip and made like a 15 footer probably.
Q. How about the roar on 18? BRIAN STUARD: Yeah, making that putt kind of up and over a ridge. I don’t know, I just had the putter going and it was one of those days where the hole looked pretty good.
Q. What will your mindset be this afternoon going into a final round where you might be one of the leaders?
BRIAN STUARD: I think it’s going to be more of the same. I’m going to be I think a few, at least a few shots back, so it’s going to have to be more of the same, keep trying to make as many birdies as possible and that’s it.