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‘You definitely feel a little dizzy’: Heat tests field at TPC Potomac

Tiger Woods wipes away the sweat before he tees off at the 17th hole.
Tiger Woods wipes away the sweat before he tees off at the 17th hole. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Players with early tee times Saturday at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm may have caught a slight break. Those at the Quicken Loans National who began their third round Saturday morning may have been further off the lead, but at least they had to deal with temperatures only in the mid-80s to start their round.

By the time the leaders went out in the afternoon, temperatures were over 90 degrees with a heat index flirting with triple digits. The humidity was stifling, the breeze nonexistent.

Caddies kept cool towels at the ready, sweat dripped from players’ faces, and the most valuable pieces of real estate on the golf course were the few spots that offered shade. On a day when Abraham Ancer tied the course tournament record with a 62, the heat offered as stringent a test as TPC Potomac.

“We just tried to stay hydrated,” said Andrew Landry, who teed off at 12:15 and shot a 5-under-par 65, putting him in fifth place after 54 holes, three shots behind Ancer and co-leader Francesco Molinari. “It’s really, really hot out there. Yeah, you definitely feel a little dizzy out there every now and then. You’ve just got to make sure you’re hydrated. Gatorade, drink some water, stuff like that.”

Tiger Woods starts hot, cools off late

Ancer, who played with Landry, embraced it.

“I love it,” he said. “I grew up in Mexico, in the north part of Mexico where it’s very hot, very similar to this. [The heat] didn’t bother me. I would rather play in this than cold weather.”

Tiger Woods, who birdied five of six holes at one point on the front nine en route to a 68, said it simply was a test of endurance.

“I know my legs are strong from all the legwork we’ve done, so I don’t have a problem with my strength and my endurance,” said Woods, who is six shots off the lead. “It’s just a matter of keeping focus out here in this heat.”

The conditions are not expected to improve for Sunday’s final round. A heat advisory already has been issued, with temperatures expected in the upper 90s and a heat index that could reach 105 degrees.

Zac Blair, two shots off the lead and in a tie for third with Ryan Armour, acknowledged the heat is a concern but praised TPC Potomac maintenance chief Stephen Britton’s strong work on the course.

“[Tournament organizers] had to be a little more careful, I think, this year because it’s pretty hot,” Blair said. “But, I mean, Stephen Britton has got this place in unbelievable condition, as good as you could really want. You’ve got to hit good shots. If you do that, you’re rewarded.”

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