VERONA, N.Y. -- Bill Hook's goal for the third round of the 49th PGA Professional Championship on Tuesday was to just go for it. Fire at the pins and see how low he could go.
The 33-year-old PGA Head Professional at Knickerbocker Country Club in Tenafly, N.J., began the day at 3-over-par. When it finished, he was 3-under, thanks to a 69 on Turning Stone Resort's Atunyote course and had jumped 43 spots up the leaderboard at even par for the week.
Aside from a missed birdie putt on the par-5 18th hole from about 3 feet after a spectacular bunker shot, Hook -- who is making his PPC debut -- was happy with his work.
PGA PROFESSIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP LEADERBOARD
"The day started off with nothing to lose, so we figured we'd swing away at it," Hook said. "We had a couple of birdie putts on the first few holes within 15 feet. We made one that we hit to a foot, but other than that, we got nothing. The conditions were good and the greens are getting real good. They're firming up a little but, but they're definitely true. They're starting to move, which I like. I like them quick. I'm really happy to have played here on Day 3 -- my first time in this tournament -- and I'm looking forward to Day 4."
All told, Hook had three birdies for the day in his bogey-free effort. While the birdies were nice, it was ultimately some fantastic par saves that kept the round intact.
"At 14, I hit it in the hazard off the tee, took a drop and then hit 6-iron to about 2 feet and made the putt to save four," he said. "We made some big putts to save pars. Those to me are even more important than making those birdie putts. Those really keep the round going and allow you to stay aggressive instead of thinking about what you just did."
Then there was the adventure on the par-4 16th after a birdie on the 15th.
"On No. 16, I had a 60-degree wedge from about 30 yards long of the green, coming down the hill and did everything I could to keep it on the fringe and then chipped in," he said. "That really helped going into 17 and 18, holding it all together."
There's still a lot of work to be done on Wednesday. But, for Hook, he's delighted to have the opportunity to play for one of 20 spots in the PGA Championship at Baltusrol.
"It's in my home state this year, 30 minutes from where I grew up," he said. "It would be fun. I need to play well tomorrow. Today, we said 69 is the number, get it back to even and we did that. We should have done one better, but we'll try again tomorrow and see if we can do that and see where it gets us."
-PGA of America