With his bread-and-butter iron playing out a bit, Scott Stallings dug into his wallet and had some old friends sent his way.
It was money well spent.
Before last week’s Travelers Championship, Stallings had a friend go to his house to track down an old set of irons that he hoped would heal him. His friend wanted to make sure he sent the correct set, so he brought three sets of irons to Stallings for $400.
One of the sets is what Stallings was looking for. After a so-so round, Stallings was back at ease with his old faithful, a set of Titleist T100s replacing a newer set of the same brand. His 7-under 64 in the third round of the John Deere Classic on Saturday at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, was his sixth straight round in the 1960s.
More importantly, the round put him on the standings and in a prime position to win his first PGA Tour title since 2014.
“I think all golfers are insane to some degree because we know something is good, and there’s always some kind of double-edged sword to always get a little bit better. I’ve been trying this other set for about a year and I’ve been there before week and finished third on the approach to the green and I have no idea what I’m up to this week I feel like I’m doing something right,” said Stallings, who shot 67-66-64. definitely seen a significant improvement in my iron game.
“I’ve had a nice couple of weeks but for me just a bit inconsistent through the middle of the bag. There’s nothing wrong with the way the club is made. It’s as far as the way I’m delivering it there. I think I’m a bit closer to the older one.
“It’s nice to see that we were right.”
Stallings’ 64 took him down 54 holes to 16th and second, three shots behind pacer JT Poston, who is trying to go wire-to-wire for his second PGA Tour title.
At Stallings at the age of 16 came Emiliano Grillo (65) and Denny McCarthy (66). At 15 under was Callum Tarren (65). At 14 under was Bo Hoag (day-low 63) and Monday qualifier Chris Naegel.
Anyone who is at the top of the standings knows that Sunday will not be a rest day. TPC Deere Run has produced the most birdies on the PGA Tour since 2000, so red numbers and a lot of that will be needed to win the championship hardware.
JT Poston hits his tee shot on the 6th hole during the third round of the John Deere Classic golf tournament. Mandatory credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Poston, who opened his week with a 62 (he also shot 62 in the first round of last week’s Travelers Championship), had a four-shot lead before faltering slightly on the back nine with two three-putts. But he took 17 to go up by three.
“Of course I had everything working fine for the first two days. He’s hitting great from the tee, irons and makes a lot of putts,” said Poston, who set scores of 62-65-67. “And today wasn’t as sharp tee to green and not so good putt. To still be able to shoot 4-under, which is still very solid today, gives me some confidence for tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll hit it better, but if I don’t I still have the opportunity to shoot a decent number.”
Stallings didn’t give all the credit to his old irons.
“It’s definitely the player. I mean, as much as I want to think it has to do with the equipment, it’s definitely me and the comfort of being over the top of the ball and being able to push under pressure perform,” Stallings said. “I have no idea what tomorrow has in store. I know I have some things that I can control and somewhat control I understand, but I came here on Tuesday morning and told my caddy if we are here for anything other than to have a chance to hang out on Sunday win, then we won’t have to be here.
“That was kind of my way of thinking. I’ve been playing a lot of golf this week and obviously I had a great Sunday last week to build up some momentum to get in here. Look forward to the opportunity. Today was a big step in the right direction to tomorrow.”