Saturday's golf: Day a stroke back in Houston Open as Johnson lurks
Houston — Jason Day stumbled at the end at difficult Memorial Park, three-putting for bogey on the par-4 18th to fall a stroke behind Sam Burns in the Houston Open.
“Unfortunately, I just gave it a little bit too much gas,” Day said.
Winless in 2 1/2 years and fighting lingering back and neck problems, Day shot a 3-under 67 on Saturday to remain in contention in the final event before the Masters.
“Overall, it was a solid day,” the Australian star said. “I think I drove it nice, hit a lot of good iron shots and I was just very patient out there today, so it was good to see. Looking forward to tomorrow.”
Sam Burns shot a 68 to hold onto the lead at 9-under 201.
“I think this golf course, it’s not a matter of if, it it’s a matter of when, when this golf course will hit you,” Burns said. “I think for me, just being able to hang in there.”
He eagled the par-5 eighth.
“I kind of necked the tee shot, but fortunately it stayed in the first cut,” Burns said.
Day had five birdies and two bogeys.
“I was just trying to be as patient as possible,” Day said. “I know it’s a Saturday round. Obviously, can’t win it today. You’ve got to just give yourself an opportunity to get into tomorrow’s round.”
Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz was tied with Day after a 67. Sepp Straka (66) was 7 under.
Dustin Johnson, needing to finish solo 15th or better to remain No. 1 in the world, was 6 under after a 66 in his return from the coronavirus.
Aaron Wise (69) and Dawie van der Walt (69) joined Johnson at under.
Kevin Sutherland hit a sand wedge to inches on the par-5 18th for one last birdie on a windy afternoon in the desert at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Sutherland shot a 7-under 64 to take a five-stroke lead into the final round at Phoenix Country Club. He had a 13-under 129 total.
“Yeah, it played hard, I just hit a lot of shots really close to the hole, hit it solid,” Sutherland said. “What was important for me today was I holed out of the bunker on 6. At that point I felt I couldn’t find a rhythm. After that, I I hit just about every shot right on the button and made a few putts and got a couple really close and just kind of snowballed.”
The tournament is the final official event of the year, but not the season as in the past. Because of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent loss of tournaments, the 2020 and 2021 seasons have been combined with the Schwab Cup winner to be determined in a year.
The 56-year-old California player won the 2017 event – as well as the season points title – at tree-lined Phoenix Country Club for the first of his three PGA Tour Champions victories.
Sutherland had eight birdies and a bogey, playing the back nine in 5-under 30 in the high wind.
Wes Short Jr. was second after a 66.
Tom Lehman (67) and Paul Broadhurst (68) were 7 under, and Jim Furyk (68) was 6 under with Corey Pavin (67), Woody Austin (69) and Mike Weir (69) .
First-round leaders Paul Goydos and Brandt Jobe dropped back after their opening 64s. Jobe was 5 under after a 73, and Goydos had a 75 to fall to 3 under.
Nineteen players advanced to the Sunday shootout in the Cyprus Showdown, with Johannes Veerman of the United States and Matthew Jordan of England entering the final day full of confidence after shooting the lowest score in the third round at Paphos.
In a first-of-its-kind format on the European Tour, the scores were reset after the first two days’ play and will be again after Saturday’s round.
Veerman and Jordan both shot 7-under 64 and will tee off as part of the first group in Sunday’s final.
Bernd Ritthammer of Germany and Jamie Donaldson of Wales had 65s.
All players who shot 69 or more missed the tournament’s second cut.