Henrik Stenson, Jon Rahm and Tony Finau are tied for the lead on 13-under par heading into the final round of the Hero World Challenge.
Sweden’s Stenson and Spain’s Rahm, who shared the overnight lead, couldn’t be separated at the close of day three in signing for three-under par 69s while American Finau birdied both the 15th and 16th holes in a round of 67 to join his European Ryder Cup-winning rivals.
“I played nicely birding four of the par-fives, and on this golf course, we have five of them,” said Finau who is making his debut in the $3 million event hosted by Tiger Woods on the Albany Club course.
“That’s what you have to do to play well, so I was able to do that today.
“This is a golf course I’m not very familiar with, I played it once before we played. When I’m playing well, I feel like I can score on any golf course, especially a course that has five par-fives.
“We play a lot of golf courses on the PGA Tour there’s only two or three, so to be able to have those couple extra par-fives you just know you’re going to have some opportunities to score and I’ve been able to take advantage of those opportunities,” added Finau, who is nine-under on 15 par-fives through three rounds.
The 29-year old Salt Lake City golfer said he had also benefitted from a small adjustment to his putter as he seeks to make amends after losing out in a play-off in last month’s WGC – HSBC Champions.
“I added two degrees of loft in my putter after Thursday and then went out and shot 64 yesterday with it and so I decided to keep it,” he said.
Stenson was four-under par over the outward nine holes but played the inward half in one-over as he seeks a first victory since capturing the 2017 Wyndham Championship.
“It’s a three-way tie for the lead so it’s very much an open ballgame,” Stenson said.
“It’s a small-field tournament, but it still gives you a nice boost if you manage to win at the end of the day.”
– Ace lifts Noren –
Fellow Swede Alex Noren was celebrating after recording a hole-in-one at the par-three 17th hole in what was a remarkable finish for the Ryder Cup star.
Noren was two-over par after 10 holes and then after a birdie on 12 he completed his closing five holes in bizarre manner – birdie (14), eagle (15), triple-bogey (16), ace (17) and birdie (18) in a score of 70 that put him tied for eighth on eight-under.
Woods, meanwhile, couldn’t find any momentum, his third-round 72 seeing him drop to last in the 18-player field on two-under par.
“I just haven’t played clean this week,” said Woods, who had five birdies on his card but also three bogeys and a double bogey seven at the par-five third.
The 14-time major winner began the week battling a “bug” he picked up from his son Charlie.
“Today was probably the best I’ve felt physically this week, finally started to get my energy back and started to feel a little bit better,” he said.
Immediately following the event, Woods is flying by private jet to Los Angeles to board a QANTAS flight direct to Melbourne.
He’ll be there for three days as part of his preparations as the USA Presidents Cup Team Captain ahead of the staging of the biennial event last next year.
“We’ll go out there and look at the golf course and we’ll look at the set-up and drive around it and see the administrative side of it and where we’ll have the team facility,” he said.