While unlikely to challenge the tearaway leader Rickie Fowler in tomorrow’s final round, Smith could still produce yet another good finish and that he was able to recover from a double bogey late in his round to birdie his final three holes keeps his chances of a second consecutive top ten and perhaps something even better very much alive.
Smith’s round was already under pressure after an outward nine of 37 and when he found the water and the par 5 15th and took double bogey things appeared to be spiralling out of control but in front of the huge crowds that flock to the Phoenix Open he fought back in an admirable manner.
He still has work to do tomorrow but his capacity to bounce back in the manner he did late in his round has kept the door open for something special tomorrow and speaks volumes for this player's mindset.
Fowler, though, will take the 54 hole lead in this event into the final round for the second consecutive year. His eight-birdie round of 64 today was his second such score of the week and opened up a four-shot lead over Matt Kuchar with Justin Thomas another shot back in 3rd place.
Twelve months ago, Fowler held a one-shot lead heading into day four before a final round of 73 saw him finish 11th. He has been accused on many occasions of not converting enough of the opportunities he creates for himself and tomorrow he gets another chance to silence the doubters.
As a two-time runner-up in the event, his breakthrough win must surely come this week but the in-form Kuchar who himself has played this event well might yet have something to say on that.
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