The Norman Transcript

National Sports

March 16, 2014

Garrigus’ lead down to 1 shot at Innisbrook

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Robert Garrigus missed two short par putts over the last seven holes Saturday, and just like that, his four-shot lead dwindled to one in the Valspar Championship.

That’s about the only thing that went quickly.

On a gorgeous afternoon at Innisbrook, pace of play on the PGA Tour reared its ugly head again.

Garrigus had to settle for a 1-under 70 when he missed short par putts on the 12th and 18th holes, giving him a one-shot lead over Kevin Na, who labored and fidgeted his way around the Copperhead course to a 68.

The final group turned into a threesome for most of the back nine — Garrigus, Kevin Na and a rules official with his hand on a stopwatch. Even though they finished in just under four hours, they were as many as two holes behind the group ahead of them.

Both players were given a bad time — a first for Garrigus, but not for Na — and one more would have meant a one-shot penalty.

“I’m not used to being put on the clock,” said Garrigus, one of the fastest players in golf. “That’s the first time in nine years — actually the first time in 17 years as a professional — I’ve ever got a bad time on the golf course. I started laughing.”

They were on the clock when Garrigus had a nasty lie in the rough on the side of the hill on the par-5 14th. He walked some 30 yards up to the green to study his shot, and by the time he walked back to hit it, he was went beyond his allotted 40 seconds.

Na was given a bad time on the par-3 13th hole when he was first to play.

“Over water, tough to judge the wind and corner pin is obviously brutal, and probably just took some extra time because it was probably a hard golf shot,” Na said. “Unfortunately, I was past the time. I know how to play. I don’t know what people were saying, but I don’t feel like I should be criticized for my play today because I’m the first one to admit if I play slow. But I really didn’t feel like I played slow today.”

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