Notebook: Local native Flores shoots 5-under in front of family, friends

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Martin Flores grew up a golfing prodigy in Mansfield, Texas, yet doesn’t believe he ever attended the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial as a kid.

“I was always practicing, trying to play out here,’’ the 31-year-old explained.

In front of family and friends on Saturday, Flores equaled the Crowne Plaza round of the day, a 5-under 65, and climbed into a tie for sixth at 9-under, two off the lead.

Matt Kuchar leads at 11-under. There is a four-way tie for second at 10-under.

“I think family and friends are two of the most important things in the world,’’ Flores said. “To be able to play in front of them and to be able to hang out with them for the week is something very, very special.’’

In previous Colonial appearances, Flores missed the cut in 2010 and finished in a tie for 26th last year.

Flores failed to find only two fairways in his third round.

“Putting the ball in position off the tee is critical out here,’’ he said. “It gave me the opportunity to go at some flags.

“Any time you shoot 65, I’m just happy to be where I’m at. I still have a lot of work to do. There are a lot of great players, and I’ve got to keep making birdies.’’

Flores will tee off in the third-to-last group at 12:45 p.m. CT Sunday, paired with Graham DeLaet.

Rolling along: Tim Clark matched Flores for round of the day with a 65 and is tied for sixth at 9-under.

Clark on Tuesday declined to comment on the decision by golf’s governing bodies to outlaw the anchored putting stroke in 2016.

Following his brilliant third round, Clark denied using Tuesday’s ruling as extra incentive.

“I’m trying to just leave that behind me,’’ Clark said. “It’s been tough enough playing this year with that on my mind. At this point it is out of my hands. I’m just trying to focus on playing good golf.”

“Obviously, it is not a rule I’m in favor of,” he said. “I don’t think it makes any sense. There are so many different ways of putting. You are probably going to see some really weird and wonderful things coming out after this.’’

Popular spot: Hole No. 13 at Colonial is the place to be, especially on the weekend.

The par-3 over water -- playing shorter today at 160 yards -- has the feel of tournament unto itself. The hole is surrounded by skyboxes and the crowd can get raucous. Some fans make a day of it on the hole.

Lewisville, Texas, resident Chaz Page and three friends arrived at 10:30 a.m. CT, passing the time wagering on which golfer would land his tee shot closest to the pin.

“I was up $20 until it started raining,’’ Page said, his shirt still damp from a passing shower.

As to the allure of No. 13, Page said all the essentials are present: refreshments, restrooms and people watching. “This is my spot,’’ he said.

Rule violation: Jeff Overton was disqualified for use of a practice aid in the middle of his third round.

Tour rules official Mark Russell said during a wait between nines that Overton used the putting green as allowed. But because his round was underway, he was not allowed to use an alignment device, which he admitted to doing.

Overton was even par on his round and 4-under for the tournament when he was notified on No. 11.

Russell said one of the players asked a scoring official if Overton was allowed to use the device.

“I don’t think he was very happy,’’ Russell said. “But, you know, I would certainly expect that.’’

Spieth stumbles: With three birdies on his first five holes, Jordan Spieth reached 11-under in Round 3.

But the 19-year-old from Dallas played the final 13 holes in 4-over and finished with a 71. He dumped his tee shot into the water on No. 13 and walked off with a double-bogey. Spieth is tied for 14th at 7-under.

"I just made some mental errors -- just rookie mistakes that cost me four shots,'' Spieth said. "A couple of bad swings with some misjudging of the wind.''

He begins his fourth round at 11:45 a.m. CT, paired with Chris Kirk.

Notes: Fort Worth resident J.J. Henry, decked out in TCU colors, with purple pants and a white shirt, carded a 3-under 67 and joins Spieth at 7-under, tied for 14th. In 11 previous Colonial appearances, Henry did not finished higher than 22nd. … HP Byron Nelson champion Sang-Moon Bae is tied for 56th at 1-under. … Fort Worth native John Peterson made par on his first 11 holes before a roller-coaster finish of three birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey on the way to a 71. Peterson is 4-under. … Quietly, Hunter Mahan of Colleyville, Texas, has made a steady leaderboard climb, carding a second 68 on Saturday. He’s in a tie for 24th at 5-under. … John Rollins, who also calls Colleyville home, closed out a 67 with birdies on No. 17 and 18. He’s 8-under, tied for fourth. … Tommy Gainey turned in Saturday's only bogey-free round.