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.
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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 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.
A traffic jam is likely for the final round.
Garrigus was at 8-under 205, and the final seven holes brought several players back into the mix — most needing a win to get into the Masters.
John Senden of Australia made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to cap off a 64, moving up 32 spots on the leaderboard into third place, just two shots behind. Justin Rose, at No. 7 the highest-ranked player in the field, made a bogey on the 18th for a 69 and was three shots behind.
Michael Putnam of University Place fell 37 spots into a tie for 49th after a 74 left him at 2 over.
•Bernhard Langer maintained a two-stroke lead in the Champions Tour’s Toshiba Classic in Newport, Calif., making four birdies in a late five-hole stretch for a 5-under 66. Langer, the 2008 winner, had a 13-under 129 total at Newport Beach Country Club.
The 56-year-old German won the season-opening event in Hawaii in January for his 19th win on the 50-and-over tour.
Kenny Perry and Chien Soon Lu were tied for second. Seattle native Fred Couples, Scott Dunlap, Esteban Toledo and Jeff Hart were at 10 under. Pullman High School grad Kirk Triplett was tied for eighth at 9 under.
• Spain’s Alejandro Canizares extended his lead to six strokes in the third round of the European Tour’s Trophy Hassan II at Palais Royal in Agadir, Morocco.