Who else needs a cigarette? It was chilly in San Francisco, but the third round of the PGA Championship turned up the heat. We have big names left and right, and a few young guys are looking to break through.
DJ got us fallin’ in love
Ten years ago, Dustin Johnson tapped in on the 72nd hole at the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, believing that he was about to contest a playoff against Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson. He was then assessed a two-stroke penalty for grounding his club in a bunker. Tomorrow, he’ll have a chance to redeem himself. His Saturday 65 earned him the 54-hole lead at the 2020 PGA Championship. Leaderboard
It’s been a bizarre summer for DJ. He won the Travelers, didn’t break 80 at the Memorial, withdrew due to injury in Minnesota, and entered this week under the radar. Even today, after a double bogey on the 9th hole at TPC Harding Park, it looked like he might fall off the leaderboard once again. But Johnson went on to a back-nine 31 and a one-shot edge on Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Champ. DJ is one of his generation’s very best players; the fact that he has one career major title just doesn’t seem right. Will he add a second title tomorrow?
They have a combined four PGA Tour wins and zero major championship titles, but that hasn’t stopped Scottie Scheffler (T-2), Collin Morikawa (T-4), and Cameron Champ (T-2) from making some noise this week. Both Scheffler and Morikawa shot 65 on Saturday while Champ got around in 67. Champ continues to hit the everloving hell out of his driver and leads the field in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. Scheffler and Morikawa have relied more on their iron play and putting. Not one of them has a top-25 finish in a major, so they won’t have experience to rely on, but they also don’t have much scar tissue. As we said in our tournament preview, TPC Harding Park is similar enough to a regular PGA Tour venue to feel familiar to young players. This could be the week that one of them makes an early-career mark.
Don’t you dare make us like you, Phil
After an even-par third round that guaranteed him a low-stakes Sunday, Phil Mickelson joined Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo in the booth to help call the action. He ended up staying for over an hour and a half. His commentary was quick, lively, and insightful—and provided a shot in the arm for a normally sleepy CBS telecast.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Phil take a TV job after, or even before, his playing career ends. He certainly has a knack for it. But if he were on the call week in and week out, would he always bring the same level of energy and knowledge he did today? After all, we’ve seen what the grind has done to poor Nick Faldo, who seemed befuddled and slow on the uptake during Phil’s stint.
Odds and ends
Despite three straight bogeys on the back nine on Saturday, Brooks Koepka will once again be in the mix on Sunday at a major. Koepka’s 69 was good enough to get him to T-4 entering the final round. He has more major championship wins than the rest of the top 20 combined.
Out early in the benign conditions on Saturday, Justin Thomas had a real chance to get himself into contention. He birdied five of his first seven holes but struggled the rest of the way. The 2017 PGA champion settled for a 68 and will enter the final round eight shots off the lead.
Bryson DeChambeau put together a quiet round of 66 on Saturday to climb to within three shots. He capped off his round with this 95-foot BOMB.
After getting to -9 on No. 13 today, 54-hole leader Haotong Li played his next four holes in four over. He finished four strokes back.
A bunch of favorites—Tony Finau (67), Xander Schauffele (70), Daniel Berger (70), Justin Rose (70), and Jason Day (70)—all held their own on Saturday but didn’t exactly make a move. They’re still in it but need to go low.
Keep in mind that Dustin Johnson started the day four shots behind Haotong Li, and now he leads by one. The demanding Harding Park setup will allow chasers to make a run at the top of the leaderboard. By the measure of DJ’s ascent today, any of the 17 players at -5 or better have a chance to win tomorrow.
Gabriela Ruffels will attempt to win her second consecutive U.S. Women’s Amateur on Sunday. She’ll face off against top-ranked junior Rose Zhang in a 36-hole match at Woodmont Country Club. Scoring
Heading into the final round at the Marathon LPGA Classic, Lydia Ko is four shots up on last week’s winner Danielle Kang. Ko last won (in memorable fashion) in 2018. After a dominant stretch in the mid-2010s, the 23-year-old Kiwi has dropped to No. 55 in the world. This would be a big win for her. Leaderboard
On the European Tour, Andy Sullivan backed up his second-round 62 with a 64 on Saturday. He leads the English Championship by five. Leaderboard
Paul Barjon and Lee Hodges are two shots clear at the Korn Ferry Tour’s WinCo Foods Portland Open with one round to go. Leaderboard
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Belvedere Golf Club: Watson’s Summer Hang – Original Harding Park architect William Watson spent his summers in Northern Michigan (who could blame him?) at another of his designs, Belvedere Golf Club. It remains intact today and offers one of the best accessible golf experiences in the country. Check our new video on the course, featuring commentary from Tom Doak.
It’s not exactly “the latest,” but Will Knights recently covered Dustin Johnson’s lasting legacy. How will DJ’s career stack up in the long term? Find out in The DJ Conundrum
It’s going to take a real sportsman to win tomorrow. Prepare yourself by suiting up in our new B. Draddy x Shotgun Start sport polo! It’s truly as comfortable as a shirt can get. Get yours today!