LAS VEGAS – Handicapping the final round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is one tough assignment.
Eighteen players are within five shots of the lead and another 11 are six shots back heading into Sunday’s final round at TPC Summerlin, where par isn’t your friend and red numbers are aplenty.
Players have been tearing up TPC Summerlin from Thursday’s start and the cut was 7-under 135 – the lowest 36-hole cut in a 72-hole event in Tour history. With little wind expected for the final round, scoring binges should more than likely continue across this desert layout.
Which necessitates one mental approach, many players said after Saturday’s third round: You have to put the pedal to the metal on this track to emerge from the stampede at the finish line.
“By the time I tee off tomorrow I’m sure (the lead) will be more than 20 under, so it’s going to be the same mentality tomorrow. I’ll be aggressive when I hit the ball in the fairway and get a wedge in my hand, and other than that I’ll stay patient and try and shot a good round like I did the first three two days,” Patrick Cantlay said.
Cantlay, who won here in 2017 and finished runner-up in 2018 and 2019, and Martin Laird sit atop the crowded leaderboard at 20 under, with both shooting 6-under-par 65.
Four players sit two back at 18 under – Matthew Wolff (61), Wyndham Clark (65), Brian Harman (67) and Austin Cook (67). Wolff, teeing off four hours before the leaders, made three eagles in a five-hole stretch and his 61 is the lowest round of the week.
“I put myself in a really good spot for the final day,” he said. “I’m pretty pleased with my ball striking and how everything has come together.”
At 17 under are Will Zalatoris (64) and Kevin Na (64), who is in a good spot to join Jim Furyk (1998-99) as the only players to win back-to-back Shriners.
“I figure 7 under, I got a chance to win,” Na said. “I need to make more putts. I made some good putts today, but I definitely left a few out there.”
Five players are at 16 under, including Adam Hadwin, who shot 62 on Saturday, and five more player are at 15 under.
And can you really dismiss reigning U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and all his firepower? DeChambeau made two double-bogeys and two bogeys in his first six holes but salvaged a 71 with six birdies in his last 11 holes. He’ll start the final round seven shots behind but he shot 62 in Thursday’s first round.
“It was really weird. I don’t know. It’s golf, right?” DeChambeau said. “You’re never going to play your best all the time, right? So I just felt like a couple things got off a little bit. Didn’t really hit bad shots, just didn’t go where I wanted to.
“Went into some really bad places. But I think I did a decent job of holding my head high and plugging forward. Just one of those days.
“Tomorrow’s a new day. You just keep plugging along.”