Saturday's golf: Schauffele takes 1-shot lead over buddy Cantlay at Travelers

Pat Eaton-Robb
Associated Press

Cromwell, Conn. — Xander Schauffele shot a 3-under 67 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over good friend and playing partner Patrick Cantlay into the final round of the Travelers Championship.

Schauffele had a 17-under 193 total at TPC River Highlands. Cantlay shot 63.

Rookie Sahith Theegala was third at 14 under after a round of 64, and Kevin Kisner had a 66 to get to 13 under.

Schauffele began the day at 14 under with a five-stroke lead. The Olympic champion birdied the second hole for the third time this week and had another at No. 6, part of a career-best run of 48 holes without a bogey.

But he put his tee shot at 13 in the water and briefly fell into a tie for the lead after a bogey. He broke his minor birdie drought at 16, then hit the pin on his approach at 17 and sank another.

Cantlay's bogey-free round was the best of the day.

Schauffele and Cantlay have been close friends since being paired together at the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia and they combined to win the Zurich Classic this season.

Schauffele is looking for his sixth individual title and first since the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions. He also is shooting for his sixth straight top-20 finish. He and Cantlay finished tied for 14th last week in the U.S. Open.

Theegala had an eagle on 13 to go with four birdies. The 24-year-old Californian hit his second shot on the par-4 17th over the course's signature lake to about a foot from the pin, briefly tying Schauffele for the lead. But he bogeyed the final hole.

He is looking to become the 18th player to get their first tour win in Connecticut. Ken Duke was the last to do it in 2013.

Former U.S. Junior champion Michael Thorbjornsen shot a 66 to put himself in contention. He started the weekend at 7 under, just the third amateur to make a PGA Tour cut in 2022.

Harris English, who is trying to become just the second player to successfully defend his title here after Phil Mickelson won in 2002, shot a 69 and was in a group at 10-under.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler was also in that group after shooting a 65. He began the weekend nine strokes behind Schauffele.

First-round co-leader Rory McIlroy (72) got in trouble early Saturday, hitting his tee shot on No. 2 off a nearby tree and into the tall grass 108 yards across the fairway to the right. After a 39 on the back nine Friday, he shot 36 on the front nine Saturday and finished 2 over for the day, and 6 under for the tournament, 11 strokes off the pace.

LPGA Tour

Bethesda, Md. — This was the moment the rest of the field needed: In Gee Chun standing near the trees, contemplating her situation and then eventually heading back to the point of her previous shot.

A shaky third round cut her lead at the Women's PGA Championship in half.

Chun shot a 3-over 75 on Saturday, leaving her three strokes ahead going into the final round at Congressional Country Club. On a day the leaders had plenty of trouble, Chun was holding her own until she made a double bogey on the par-5 16th hole.

It looked like the final round might be boring — or at least anticlimactic — as Chun maintained a comfortable lead through much of Saturday. She bogeyed Nos. 1 and 11 but birdied 2 and 12. Her lead was at five when she had to play her third shot from some tall grass on the 564-yard 16th.

That shot put her in even more trouble, in an area with tall grass and some trees. She took an unplayable lie and went back to the previous spot to re-hit.

An 8-iron from there went over the green, but Chun did manage to get up and down for a 7. The two-time major champion from South Korea led by five shots after the first round and six at the halfway point. After the third round, she had an 8-under 208 total.

Lydia Ko (76) and Jennifer Kupcho (74) — Chun's playing partners — had their own problems, but Lexi Thompson and Hye-Jin Choi both shot 70 and were tied for second with Sei Young Kim (71) at 5 under.

Thompson will play in the final group as she tries for her first major victory since 2014.

Ko wasn't able to take advantage of Chun's struggles. She bogeyed four of five holes during one stretch on the front nine, then birdied four of the next seven. She wrapped up the round with four straight bogeys.

Kupcho had three birdies and three bogeys in the first seven holes and couldn't gain much ground on the leader.

Kim, who won this event two years ago, had a comparatively drama-free round with two birdies and a bogey. Choi shot 34 on the back nine while playing in a group with Thompson. They'll be together again Sunday.

Thompson made three birdies on the back nine, including a putt from about 30 feet on No. 15. She has 11 LPGA Tour victories but none since 2019. She's played her way into contention after a first-round 74.

Thompson finished second at Crown Colony in February and at Upper Montclair last month.

Hannah Green (72) was fifth at 4 under, a stroke ahead of Atthaya Thitikul (68), who was so far behind at the start of the day she was in one of the groups sent off on No. 10. Brooke Henderson (73), Kupcho and Jennifer Chang (73) were tied for sixth with Thitikul.

PGA Champions Tour

Bethlehem, Pa. — Padraig Harrington finally knows what it's like to overpower a golf course, and it has the Irishman on the verge of a U.S. Senior Open title.

Harrington reached both par 5s in two, hitting 5-wood to 7 feet on the 608-yard 12th hole at Saucon Valley, and his 5-under 66 enabled him to open a five-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior Open.

Starting the third round with a one-shot lead over Steve Stricker, his Ryder Cup captain foe from Whistling Straits, Harrington birdied the opening two holes and was on his way.

He was at 12-under 201, five shots clear of former U.S. Senior Open champion Gene Sauers, who birdied the last two holes for a 68; and PGA Tour Champions rookie Rob Labritz (69).

Stricker couldn't keep up after an opening birdie, and the par 5s is where the winning U.S. Ryder Cup captain really lost ground.

Harrington drilled a fairway metal into 25 feet on the 568-yard sixth hole, while Stricker hit a tree and had to flight a chip under the branches. he came up short of the green and made bogey. It was a two-shot swing when Harrington two-putted or birdie, for a four-shot margin.

And then on the 12th, Harrington blasted his 5-wood over the corner of the rough to a pin tucked on the left side. Stricker's wedge went just through the green, his chip down the hill was too strong and he made another bogey. This turned out to be a three-shot swing when Harrington holed the eagle putt.

Harrington, who turned 50 last August and is playing his first U.S. Senior Open, stretched his lead to as many as nine shots. He had two bogeys over the last four holes, his first dropped shots since the opening round.

Otherwise, it was a pure power show, even for the 50-and-older set. The way he swung with force during rehearsal swings, reminiscent of Bryson DeChambeau, showed how much Harrington has emphasized speed in his swing to get more distance.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Ernie Els had a 67 and was seven shots behind.

Stricker never found his putting stroke all day and shot 73, leaving him eight shots behind along with Steven Alker and 68-year-old Jay Haas, who each had a 71.