Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Storms Pummel Congressional Cc Fans Restricted from Course; Woods One Back

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Storms Pummel Congressional Cc Fans Restricted from Course; Woods One Back

Article excerpt

Tiger Woods played before the largest crowd of the day, even though it never topped 100. Brendon de Jonge had as many birdies -- three -- as people in his gallery on a strange, silent Saturday at the AT&T National in Bethesda, Md.

A violent wind storm overnight that toppled dozens of trees and littered the course with limbs forced tournament officials to keep spectators and all but the essential volunteers away from Congressional Country Club for the third round. Considering the amount of debris, it was amazing they even played.

De Jonge was steady in the steamy heat for a third consecutive round in the 60s, this one a 2-under 69 that gave him a one-shot lead over Woods, Bo Van Pelt and S.Y. Noh headed into a final round that figures to be a lot more noisy.

Woods and Van Pelt shot 67, and Noh had a 69.

De Jonge, a South African going for his first PGA Tour win, made his final birdie on the 12th hole with a wedge out of the rough that climbed over a ridge and settled about 12 feet behind the cup. It was worthy of applause, but there was only one person in the gallery to see it -- Kandi Mahan, wife of Hunter Mahan.

Indeed, this was a day like few others on the PGA Tour.

A few volunteers, tournament staff and club members tagged along after Woods, and provided about the only noise of the round. They watched him and Van Pelt get off to a quick start, and then match pars on the back nine to get close to the lead.

"I told Tiger that was a Bo Van Pelt crowd, so I was used to that," Van Pelt said. "I was very comfortable with 10 or 15 people watching me play golf. No, it was just nice to get it in. I think we're all fortunate that nobody got hurt out here [Friday] night. It's a credit to the grounds staff that they got this golf course ready. I'm sure if you saw pictures of what it looked like at midnight, the fact that we played golf [Saturday] is a minor miracle. …

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