POTOMAC — POTOMAC - For two rounds in the Booz Allen Classic, TPC at Avenel took a beating like a boxer past his prime. Charles Howell III shot a record-low 61 Thursday and was followed by his friend, Adam Scott, who recorded a tournament-record-low 128 for two rounds Friday.
But the course fought back yesterday, delivering blows that sent several golfers to the canvas and others staggering to their corners.
Rich Beem was one of the players who will have to regroup and come out swinging today in the final round if he plans to have a chance at the championship.
Beem started yesterday three shots off the lead, and birdied three holes on his front nine, including two in a row. But he fell hard on the back nine, bogeying four holes in a row, with the last of them coming at No. 17. He ended with a 1-over-par 72 for a 203 total, eight shots behind tournament-leader Scott.
"I'd like to say you have to stay patient out here, but unfortunately that's [baloney]," Beem said. "You have to attack [this course], I think, to score low on it and that's what I enjoy doing. When you attack it like I did today it bites back a little and it definitely bit me a little bit coming down the stretch. But that's OK. I'm discouraged, but I'm not totally beaten up about it."
Beem's troubles began on the 12th hole when he left his third shot on a steep hill leading to a creek. From there, his putter failed him and his tee shot on No. 14 found another creek.
And a day after flirting with a round of 59, Glen Day had a rough outing, shooting an 8-over-par 79 for 210. Immediately after the round, he marched to the driving range.
Not all Browne fans
Olin Browne caught a couple of boos from the gallery yesterday, indicating only how close he is to home.
Browne, a Washington, D.C., native, attended St. Albans School, a rival of Interstate Athletic Conference schools Landon, Georgetown Preparatory and Bullis, which is just down the road from TPC at Avenel.
The wind may have seemed like an IAC rival to Browne yesterday. On No. 16, the U.S. flag in back of the hole waved in one direction, but as he took his swing, the wind shifted, causing the ball to drop 20 yards short of its target. That helped to end Browne's streak of 51 holes without a bogey.
Browne managed to finish with an even-par 71 and was in second place, six strokes back of Scott.
Browne is not counting himself out.
"If [Scott] shoots 2- or 3-under-par tomorrow, nobody is going to catch him, but you never know what's going to happen," he said. "And so I'm going to show up on the first tee tomorrow and see where I can get to."
Browne's two PGA Tour victories have come after rallies.
Na comes up big
The youngest player on the tour, Kevin Na, 20, played like a veteran yesterday, recording the day's best round, a 7-under-par 64. Unlike many others, Na was able to avoid the course's snares, jumping 30 spots in the standings with a 203 total.
Despite his polished round, Na still looks to the veterans for advice. Their most valuable suggestion to him this weekend: "Don't try to win; just let it happen."