Byrd Birdies his way to the Third Round Lead at the Tour Championship!

20170928_110359Jonathan Byrd matched his eight-birdie count performance of Round One, a total of 23 so far against three bogeys in 54 holes, to take the third round lead at 20-under over a cooling off Sam Saunders who shot a 12-under par 59 in Round One.

Byrd, Number 55 on the Tour in 17 events (T5 in Panama and T8 in Winco final regular season event) and No. 170 on the PGA TOUR in nine events (T5 in John Deere Classic best finish) this year has gone T31, CUT, CUT in the FINALS so far has posted three consistent rounds of 64-65-64 to get to the 20-under mark so desired in Round Two by the newest Mr. 59 Sam Saunders.

After Round Two Saunders shared that his private goal was to get to twenty-under par. A birdie on the last would have done it but instead he recorded a double bogey after taking five strokes to get it in the hole from short of the green with a fluffy lie in the rough.

Sam Saunders in bunker on the 18th in Round 3.

Sam Saunders in bunker on the 18th in Round 3.

In Round Three, a birdie at the last would have gotten him to that 20-under mark. His second shot 7-iron downwind from 198 yards buried in the front right greenside bunker. He blasted out and lipped out the birdie putt from 18-feet. His nemensis reared its ugly head again with another rimmed out short putt resulting in bogey (also on Hole Nos. 7 & 11). With the bogey he fell to two strokes behind Byrd at 18-under par going into Sunday’s final round of the FINALS!


Cameron Tringale posted 65-66-65 and at 17-under is three shots back of Byrd in solo third place. Tyler Duncan, Rob Oppenheim, and Bronson Burgoon are tied for fourth place four shots back of Byrd. There are eleven players within six shots of Byrd, with six strokes being the best come-from-behind victory in the 23-year history of the Tour Championship.

_640 FinalsBesides the championship, there are 25 additional 2017-2018 PGA TOUR cards at stake between the FINALS playoff between PGA TOUR players (Nos. 126-200 on FedExCup Final Points List and Tour players (Nos. 26-75). Tour players Nos. 1-25 can play to improve their ranking. Nineteen of the 25 did play, thirteen made the cut and Ben Silverman (No. 10) and Matt Atkins (No. 19) have fared best and are at T8, with a possible record tying comeback victory in the works for Sunday.

Remember when it comes down to the Bubble Boys, those slightly inside the FINALS Top 25 and those slightly outside, it all comes down to the money won in the Tour Championship. And not just by the players involved but others who may influence the outcome by their finish. The difference between tying for a place and winning it outright can be pivotal. For those higher up on the leaderboard, a place means more money and increased volatility.

A putt made or a putt missed on the last hole can mean someone is in and someone is out!

An elated Sam Saunders after his opening 59 gives him a 3-stroke lead in the 2017 Tour Championship!

An elated Sam Saunders after his opening 59 gives him a 3-stroke lead in the 2017 Tour Championship!

Play well all but it would be nice to see Sam Saunders break the 20-under score early in his final round and eagle or birdie the last to win his first big professional event almost to the day a year after his grandfather, our golfing hero, Arnold Palmer passed. Or simply because he is a great guy and the consummate professional golfer!

More below on the projected FINAL 25 standings going into the final round of the FINALS. Looks like the PGA TOUR guys have the lead 14:11 which is pretty much in line with the 75:50 representation in numbers. ALL these guys are good!

The FINALS 25 Projected Rank after three rounds of the Tour Championship with their FINALS playoff entry criteria ( 26-75 and PGA TOUR 126-200) and their position going into the final round of the FINALS:

  1. Nicholas Lindheim (PGA TOUR- No. 197), T48
  2. Peter Uihlein (PGA TOUR Non-Member Fed Ex Cup Points List), DNP
  3. Jonathan Byrd ( No. 55 and PGA TOUR- No. 170), 1
  4. Rob Oppenheimer ( No. 27), T4
  5. Sam Saunders (PGA TOUR No. 129), 2
  6. Ryan Armour (PGA TOUR No. 159), DNP
  7. Jonathan Randolph (PGA TOUR No. 160), T53
  8. Keith Mitchell ( No. 26), T12
  9. Tyler Duncan ( No. 31), T4
  10. Bronson Burgoon (PGA TOUR Special Medical Exemption), T4
  11. Cameron Tringale (PGA TOUR No. 133), 3
  12. Denny McCarthy ( No. 43), T8
  13. Tom Lovelady ( No. 29), T39
  14. Troy Merritt (PGA TOUR No. 151), T39
  15. Martin Piller ( No. 28), T53
  16. Alex Cejka (PGA TOUR No. 149), DNP
  17. Brett Stegmaier (PGA TOUR No. 181), T64
  18. Corey Conners ( No. 49), CUT
  19. Roberto Castro (PGA TOUR No. 172), 7
  20. Joel Dahmen (PGA TOUR No. 176), CUT
  21. Seamus Power (PGA TOUR No. 130), T53
  22. Matt Harmon ( No. 48), T16
  23. Shawn Stefani (PGA TOUR No. 165), T8
  24. Cameron Percy (PGA TOUR No. 144), T20
  25. Adam Svensson ( No. 66), CUT

Ditto for those on the bubble just outside the FINALS 25:

  1. Chad Collins (PGA TOUR No. 143), T48
  2. Ben Crane (PGA TOUR No. 147), DNP
  3. Matthew Southgate (PGA TOUR Non-Member FedEx Cup Points List)
  4. Steve Wheatcroft (PGA TOUR No. 179), T28
  5. Ryo Ishikawa (PGA TOUR No. 175), T61
The weather held out for Round 3, let's hope the same for the final round on Sunday!

The weather held out for Round 3, let’s hope the same for the final round on Sunday!