Russell Henley sank a 33-foot eagle putt on the 15th par-5 en route to take a three-stroke lead after the third round of the PGA Wyndham U.S. Championship on Saturday.
The 32-year-old American finished with a buggy to shoot a par 69 from a sub and stand on 15 under 195 after 54 holes at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC.
Henley’s clutch run-down putt, his longest hit this week, produced the lone eagle of the day at 15 and doubled his lead from two to four strokes after a 62-64 start tied at the opening 36 holes of this season’s tour.
“I’m not always going to shoot 62 or 64. I’m grateful to be under par today,” said Henley. “I felt like mentally I was pretty tough considering how I was feeling.
“Just a little sloppy, but overall I made some good decisions, had some really good ups and downs and I’m thankful for where I am. “
Henley could pull off a end-to-end victory on Sunday, a situation very similar to the US Open in June, when he shared the lead after each of the first three days to finish with a 76 and finish in 13th place.
He’ll be counting on his family to keep his mind busy until Sunday departure time, moved until morning due to expected storms in the afternoon.
“I try to get away from it for the few hours I have, go and help my wife put my kids to bed and probably change a few diapers and read them a few books,” Henley said. “There is no real secret. “
American Tyler McCumber was second in 198 after shooting 66 with a 199 pack featuring Olympic finalist Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia, South African Branden Grace, Canadian Roger Sloan and Americans Kevin Kisner, Scott Piercy and Kevin Na .
Englishman Justin Rose and Australian Adam Scott were in a group at the 200.
World number 56 Henley is aiming for his fourth US PGA title and the first since winning the 2017 Houston Open.
Henley’s clutch descent eagle, his longest successful putt of the week, produced the lone eagle of the day at 15 and doubled his lead from two to four strokes. His 62-64 start matched the circuit’s low 36-hole score this season.
Henley birdieed the par-5 fifth hole, landing his approach four feet from the cup and sinking the putt, and bogeyed to 11 after missing the green on his approach, detonating 32 feet beyond of the hole and two putts.
At 18, he missed a 10-foot putt to cut his lead below his 36-hole margin.
“I was just a little hesitant, maybe a little nervous,” Henley admitted. “I’ve never had a four-stroke lead so I kind of deal with all the unwanted thoughts in my head and just try to focus on what I want to do. “
– Grinding roses –
The tournament is the final event of the 2020-21 regular season with the top 125 players in points securing tour rights for 2021-22 and qualifying for the first playoff event next week.
Sabbatini, in his first event since winning silver in Tokyo, suffered a roller coaster 69 with five birdies and four bogeys after tying his career-low 36-hole PGA start.
Sabbatini, 45, is aiming for the first US PGA title since the 2011 Honda Classic and clinching the top 125 after starting the week 16 places.
Rose, 2016 Olympic champion and winner of the 2013 US Open, is totally exempt for next season. He shot 69 and placed 126th in points heading into the final round, just outside the playoffs.
“I didn’t play particularly well,” Rose said. “It was like grinding him more than anything. “
Scott and CT Pan of Taiwan, also totally exempt for next season, were in the top 125 and had improved their position in three innings.
© 2021 AFP