Christiaan Bezuidenhout began Saturday’s third round at even par, and Joel Dahmen was 1-under.
But Bezuidenhout and Dahmen vaulted themselves toward the top of the leaderboard at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational with strong performances.
Bezuidenhout shot a 6-under 64 and Dahmen had a 5-under 65 as they moved into a tie for 10th at 6 under, six shots behind leader Brendon Todd.
They headline a handful of golfers ranked outside the top 30 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings still in contention for the tournament title.
Todd, No. 45 in the rankings (51 in OWGR), is 12-under, one stroke ahead of Byeong Hun An, who is 87th (62nd in OWGR).
Tom Lewis, who ranks 173rd according to Golfweek/Sagarin, tied a TPC Southwind record with a 9-under 61 and is tied for 10th at 6-under.
Neither Dahmen, who is No. 31 in Golfweek/Sagarin, nor Bezuidenhout, who is No. 75th, has won on the PGA Tour.
Dahmen said he fully expected to play well at TPC Southwind.
“I expect myself to be in the top 10,” he said. “This is a great golf course for me, you don’t have to be a bomber. Iron play is important out here, driving in the fairway and that’s what I do well. I expected to play well this week. This course fits everything I’m supposed to be good at.”
For Dahmen, this week has special meaning because it’s his first appearance in a World Golf Championships field.
“Well, first is nice, so that means a lot there,” said Dahmen, who earned his PGA Tour card in 2017. “World rankings points are huge. I’m only a couple good weeks away from the Tour Championship as well, so that means a lot. That’s all stuff you add up Sunday evening. Hopefully, I don’t think about it too much (Sunday), but yeah if I get off to a hot start, then all those things come with it, for sure.”
In May, during a friendly round of golf at Mesa Country Club in Arizona, Dahmen set the course record with a 58. He said Saturday’s 65 felt very similar.
“I hit it the same way, I just made a ton of 4- to 10-footers all day,” Dahmen said. “I made a couple longer putts today, but kind of similar. When you get hot you just try to stay out of your own way at that point.”
Bezuidenhout, who plays on the European Tour, made seven birdies Saturday and one bogey. His final birdie came on the last hole of his round and came from 19 feet away from the cup.
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @munzly.