Saturday's golf: Henley shoots 69 to lead by 3 after third round at Wyndham
Greensboro, N.C. — Russell Henley was grateful to get through the round with the lead at the Wyndham Championship. He hopes to hold on for 18 more holes for his first PGA Tour victory in four years.
Henley shot a 1-under 69 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead.
Henley, who tied the lowest 36-hole score on tour this year, couldn’t keep up that pace at Sedgefield Country Club. Yet, he rolled in a 33-foot putt for eagle on the par-5 15th and went on to finish at 15-under 195 as he tries to win his fourth career title and first since the 2017 Shell Houston Open.
Henley acknowledged he was edgy enter the round with his large lead. “That’s not going to happen every time and these rounds are kind of what make and break really good tournaments,” he said. “So I’m really thankful to be under par today.”
Tyler McCumber, the son of 10-time tour winner Mark McCumber, shot a 66 and was at 12 under in second. He’s winless on the tour.
The group of six four shots behind at 11 under included three playoff outsiders in Rory Sabbatini, Scott Piercy and Roger Sloan now on track to tee it up in the 125-man field for the postseason that starts next week at The Northern Trust.
Sabbatini, the Olympic silver medalist last month, has used his momentum from Tokyo to make a charge in the playoff standings. His 69 included a birdie on the 17th hole that moved him from outside the postseason – he began the week at No. 141 – to a projected place of No. 122.
Piercy, too, continued his charge into the tour playoffs with a 68. He was first man out of the playoffs at No. 126 when the week began. But his third straight round in in the 60s projected him to 93rd.
Sloan also needed a big week to continue his season and he’s gotten it so far with a second straight 64 to move from 131st in the playoff standings to No. 102.
Others tied at 11 under were Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner and Kevin Na. Grace shot 64, Kisner 66 and Na 67.
Former FedEx Cup champion Justin Rose, who started the week 138th in the standings, shot 69 after a bogey on the final hole. He’s 126th in the projections.
There are no guarantees that current results mean anything come the next round – or next hole. Just ask Tyler Duncan, who made five birdies on his front nine to move up 61 spots in the playoff standings to 101st.
But Duncan played the back nine at 3 over for a 69 – and dropped to 150th by round’s end.
It won’t be a normal final round either as the PGA Tour will start earlier with the first golfers going off at 7 a.m. to beat expected bad weather later in the day. Golfers will also go off in threesomes and from the first and 10th tees.
Henley, who entered at No. 46, was locked into the playoffs long before this event began. He’s focused on finishing out the victory, something he could not two months ago when he was in a three-way tie for the top after three rounds of the U.S. Open.
Henley shot a final-round 76 at Torrey Pines to fall back.
He looked as if he’d regained his form with his eagle on No. 15. But Henley missed a 13-foot par putt on the 18th to drop a shot.
Henley hopes to get away from golf for a few hours tonight, knowing he’s got an earlier start than normal.
“I think just trying to get a good meal and get your mind away from it if you can,” he said.
McCumber’s career best came this year with a second at the Puntacana event in the Dominican Republic last September. He had missed his past six cuts before getting hot this week.
“You’ve got to stay in the process and I feel like I’ve been doing that pretty well and getting rewarded for it through the first three rounds this week, so taking that momentum into tomorrow,” he said.
Ariya Jutanugarn bogeyed the final two holes for an even-par 72 at windy Dumbarnie Links, leaving her tied for the lead with Charley Hull and Ryann O’Toole in the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Fife.
Three strokes ahead entering the round, Jutanugarn had five birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey in wind gusting to 28 mph.
“I feel like tomorrow just have to play my own game,” Jutanugarn said. “Today, I was thinking about the outcome so much … and that’s why I end up today not playing so well. “So, I think tomorrow just have to go back to like yesterday or first round and have good commitment and not really thinking about the outcome.”
The 25-year-old Thai star won the 2018 tournament at Gullane. She has two victories this year, the Honda LPGA Thailand and Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational team event alongside sister Moriya.
O’Toole had a 68, and Hull shot her third straight 69 to match Jutanugarn at 9-under 207.
“The wind actually felt warmer, as well, so the ball was going a little bit farther,” Hull said. “Especially on last few holes it dropped off a bit. I’ve been feeling confident the last six weeks ever since pretty much, just the couple weeks after U.S. Open. I feel good. I feel really good.”
The 25-year-old Englishwoman won the 2016 CME Group Tour Championship for her lone LPGA Tour title.
O’Toole eagled the par-5 15th. The 34-year-old American is winless on the tour.
“I had just been playing 15, take the drive down just that center left side,” O’Toole said. “Today with the wind direction, it was helping a bit more versus left to right, so I was able to bite off more on the corner. The back pins, that’s the risk is that if you come in on that left side, you have a short club in but it’s a hard position to hold that green up top I put myself in a good spot. I had an uphill lie with pitching wedge in and was able to hold the green nicely and make the 9-footer.”
South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai (67) and Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul (70) were a stroke back.
Kelsey MacDonald leads the race for five spots next week in the Women’s British Open at Carnoustie at 5 under, followed by Karolin Lampert (4 under), Paula Reto (2 under), Prima Thammaraks (2 under), Jing Yan (even) and Whitney Hillier (even).
Doug Barron eagled the par-5 18th for his second straight 6-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the PGA Tour Champions’ Shaw Charity Classic at Calgary, Alberta.
The 52-year-old Barron also had five birdies and a bogey at Canyon Meadows. He won the 2019 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open for his lone tour title.
“I played really nice today,” Barron said. “I hit the ball solid all day. I did make a bogey, but I still hit a good shot on the hole and I made bogey. I just didn’t get up-and-down. I’m fine where I’m at. I did look at the leaderboard going into 18. I wanted to be in the final group, so I think the only way, my only path to the final group was to make eagle, so I can’t believe I did it, That was pretty cool.”
Calgary resident Stephen Ames, Steve Flesch and first-round leader Billy Mayfair were a stroke back at 11 under. Ames and Flesch birdied the 18th for 65s, and Mayfair followed an opening 62 with a 67.
Brandt Jobe was 9 under after a 66. David McKenzie (64) and Ken Duke (67) were 8 under.
Canadian star Mike Weir, a stroke back after an opening 63, had a 70 to drop into a tie for eighth at 7 under. The 2003 Masters champion won the Insperity Invitational in early May in Texas for his lone senior title. In his last start, he tied for second in the U.S. Senior Open in Nebraska.
The tournament is the first the PGA Tour Champions or PGA Tour event in Canada since the Shaw Charity Classic in 2019.
Robert Allenby had a his second straight 71. He turned 50 last month and tied for 64th in the Senior British Open in his Champions debut.