DeChambeau, Uihlein atop crowded Shriners leaderboard

Las Vegas, Nev. — Bryson DeChambeau could not help but mutter at himself for leaving too many putts short Saturday but after 54 holes, he certainly was happy about his position at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

DeChambeau is tied for the lead with Peter Uihelin, each currently sitting at 16-under par.

“It is definitely nice to be able to ball strike it as well as I have the past three days,” he said. “It is also nice to be able to take, I don’t know how many weeks I was off, but essentially come into an event and still be able to perform. That’s something I’ll take with me moving forward.”

DeChambeau is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, not to mention he certainly is familiar with this position having won both times he has either led or co-led after 54 holes. A win, this week would be his third in the last five starts.

With wind inconsistently affecting the course, DeChambeau ranked first in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and second in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green after hitting all 14 fairways.

“I feel like I just got a couple unlucky breaks at the end of last year and didn’t understand a couple things for those last two playoffs events,” DeChambeau said. “I’ve rolled it into this week and ball struck it really well. I think if I putt really well tomorrow I’ll be tough to beat. If I don’t, a lot of things could happen.”

The putting DeChambeau spoke about was his -1.022 Strokes Gained: Putting Saturday, which placed him 49th on the day and he made 67’5″ worth of putts on his walk around TPC Summerlin. He gave himself a solid “B, B-minus” through three rounds.

“I’ve had three three-putts and missed a numerous amount of putts inside ten feet this week,” said DeChambeau. “It is what it is and that’s golf. You’re not going to have everything every week. I’m always a guy trying to strive for the best, and, yeah, I’m going to get frustrated, that’s just who I am.” ‘

DeChambeau’s 54-hole score ties his career-high set at The NORTHERN TRUST and his best previous result in this event was a T7 last year.

Uihelin had an even par front-nine but a mistake-free second nine put him in position for his first PGA TOUR victory. This is his first 54-hole lead or co-lead.

“I wouldn’t really say I was overly frustrated,” Uihlein said. “I didn’t feel like I hit it probably close enough as I probably could have to feel like, Hey, these are really makeable. I didn’t feel like I missed any putts I should have made.”

Uihelin has held the lead from the beginning and is feeling his game is trending in the right direction after a few rough weeks.

“Last year I felt like I had some good events; came kind of close at a few,” said Uihlein. “This is all a step in the right direction of where I want to get to. If I want to become a top player in the world, win tournaments, this is what you got to do. You got to get yourself in contention in the final group on Sunday. This is all a good process and step in the right direction. Looking forward to it and should be a lot of the fun.”

Like DeChambeau, Uihelin’s 54-hole total is a career-low and he is looking to improve upon last season’s 64th placing in the FedExCup Points Standings.

For a while, it appeared as if Lucas Glover would be leading the tournament after tying his career-low round with a 10-under par 61, which included an eagle on his last hole.

The round did not get off to the best of starts with a bogey on the par-4 10th hole, but by the ninth hole, that miscue, that was ancient history.

“I have been consistent with what I’ve been working on,” he said. “I have been consistent with what I know I need to work on. Not tinkering too much, and putting better. Still not consistently where I want it, but it’s better for sure.”

A big difference for Glover Saturday, was his green-reading ability and he was seventh in Strokes Gained: Putting compared to 43rd Thursday and 68th Friday.

“I hit my lines a lot and picked the right ones,” said Glover. “I think that’s an underestimated part of what we do that nobody really talks about is how well or not well you read the greens. It’s just how many times you pick the right line. I would dare say a lot of times when you see a number like that you picked the right line a lot. I did that a lot today.”

As has been the case all tournament long, the fourth round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open will be played in threesomes on split tees from 8:20-10:20.

Defending champion Patrick Cantlay finds himself an additional shot back after firing an 8-under par round of 63 to tie for fourth place with Robert Streb.

“I feel like it’s a good course for me,” Cantlay said. “I drive it pretty straight and drive it a lot and out here that gives you a lot of wedges so I felt like I can attack most of the hole locations today, and I did.”

Shot of the day

Joaquin Niemann broke the cup on the par-3 17th hole with this ace, the second of the week. The hole in one was Niemann’s first on the PGA TOUR and was an 8-iron from 176 yards.

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Third Round Leaderboard

T1. Bryson DeChambeau -16

T1. Peter Uihlein -16

3. Lucas Glover -15

T4. Patrick Cantlay -14

T4. Robert Streb -14

6. Cameron Champ -13

T7. Abraham Ancer -12

T7. Chesson Hadley -12

T7. Ryan Palmer -12

T7. Harold Varner III -12

19th hole

Harold Varner III was penalized one stroke for grounding his club on the par-4 11th hole. Rules official Steve Rintoul approached Varner III beside the rough after the ball was called moving. Varner III was asked and did not believe he grounded his club.

“When we went through it with Harold in the fairway he told me he hadn’t grounded a club behind the ball,” Rintoul said. “In other words, he did nothing to cause the ball to move. Afterwards, immediately afterwards in fact, the TV footage showed that ball had moved with his club grounded behind the ball, which Harold said, I don’t think I grounded my club.”

Varner III was informed of the stroke penalty after the round.

“I didn’t think I did but it is what it is,” said Varner III. “I saw the ball move and knew something was wrong. I definitely grounded the club, I thought it kind of didn’t hit the ground but I did. The stroke didn’t bother me, I had a lot of good holes coming up, just some bad circumstances. I’m playing good golf, that’s the good side of it.”

Varner III did not categorize the decision as tough and stated that it would not even be talked about in a couple of hours.

He was able to utilize the rest of his holes and is tied for seventh place. This included a tricky par save on the driveable par-4 15th hole in which his second shot went off the green and a birdie coming in on the par-4 16th hole.

“Massive, they kept the round going,” he said. “Obviously, 16 was good and had to hit a really good putt on 17. That’s part of golf and if you can’t handle that you won’t do well over the four days, you have to pride yourself.”

The average score from Saturday’s third round was 68.538, the lowest of all three days and featured six bogey-free rounds in Patrick Cantlay (63), Bryson DeChambeau (65), Chesson Hadley (65), Cameron Champ (66), Bud Cauley (67) and Kelly Kraft (67).

Photo credit: Chris Pohl/DYSTGolf.com

Author: Zac Weiss