Breakdown of the third round ranking
1. Xander Schauffele (-13): The X-Man broke into a six-way tie with a birdie on the final hole ahead of his playing partner Rory McIlroy (we’ll get to him momentarily). Schauffele was more or less perfect from tee to green, placing first in the driving field and in tee tee shots en route to his 66. His swing looks particularly flush right now, but he hasn’t won a forward during his PGA Tour career. This is something I’ve been asking for from him for a few years now, and he has a huge opportunity to take a big step forward on Sunday at Colonial.
T2. Jordan Spieth (-12): If you are afraid of heights or hairpin turns, after a lap Spieth (or tournament) is not for you. He hit three fairways and five greens in front and shot 32. He hit four fairways and five greens on the back and shot 36. Spieth hit more greens of 195 yards or more (three) than he did from 140 yards and closer (two), and he had more than twice as many opportunities from the last distance. Spieth is (sort of) in the top 10 in driving this week after being completely off the planet for the past few years. Add all this and we end up with this: I have no idea what Sunday holds -and I’m probably not emotionally prepared for what’s going to happen – but I’m not going to miss a shot.
T2. Justin Thomas, Branden Grace, Collin Morikawa, Gary Woodland (-12): If you told me the winner came out of this quartet, I wouldn’t argue. Thomas shot the quietest 66 he may have ever fired Saturday. He only worries me that part of his equation is a smoking putter, but I could certainly see a 65 of him to close that thing late on Sunday. Also, I can’t get enough of Morikawa. His shot on Saturday in that back-nine 31 was sublime. Sunday is a good opportunity for him to introduce himself to the world of sport by eliminating Spieth, Thomas, Schauffele and McIlroy.
T7. Harold Varner III, Daniel Berger (-11): Varner started hot with a birdie at the first and clung to the top of the board until the discoloration slightly at the very end. A win here for one of the few African-American golfers on the PGA Tour in a tournament that takes place amid conversations about race relations and protests across the country would be monumental. As Jim Nantz noted Saturday, Varner would be only the eighth black man to win on the PGA Tour. I don’t think he had the power to stay to keep at bay how many superstars are at the top here, but he will be easy to root to come on Sunday.
T9. Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau (-10): This is where I draw the line for who can win the event. If you just over 10 under then you probably shot a 61 or 62 to win. DeChambeau and McIlroy are ranked 3 and 4th respectively in the green shots this week, but they have dropped a bit in the rankings due to cool putters. Collectively, this duo lost three shots on the field on the greens on Saturday. Turn that over, and they’ll be here late Sunday.
T9. Patrick Reed, Abraham Ancer, Corey Conners, Justin Rose (-10): I couldn’t help but think Friday that we couldn’t have a better set of scenarios to get into the weekend of this event. So, of course, Reed went off and pulled a 63 lights-out to rocket up to the board and get in position for his second win of the year. It Probably won’t win (because going 63-65 on the weekend to win would be crazy), but the idea that he could topple Spieth on Sunday in a Spieth tournament needs to delight me endlessly.
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3-course tour to go
- Maybe I haven’t seen enough live golf for a while, but at different times this week I’ve been thinking about Gary Woodland, Collin Morikawa and Schauffele: “This is the most underrated move on the PGA Tour.”
- Everything Spieth says about the course is fascinating. Every response his caddie, Michael Greller, has is fascinating, too. At one point, Spieth was about 60 yards for his third shot on a par-4 and told Greller he thought he had some shot. Greller’s response“I know you’re lucky, but now is not the time.”
- I could be alone on this one, but I don’t mind not having fans, especially from the point of view of watching at home. I don’t even really notice it all that much, and actually, I think having fans out there yelling ridiculous stuff all the time sometimes even takes it off the event. I realize it’s probably financially unsustainable, but for this stretch of golf, it’s a bit awesome.
- The fake that stirs the crowd is the absolute best.
CBS Sports was with you all the way to update this story with the latest scores, updates and highlights from the Charles Schwab Challenge below. Check out the scores at the top of this story or a more detailed ranking.