December 01, 2018

Round 3 recap: three tied at 13-under

With three players tied atop the leaderboard after the third round of the Hero World Challenge, Sunday’s closing round sets up to feature plenty of excitement. First-time tournament participants Tony Finau (67) and Jon Rahm (69) join two-time runner-up Henrik Stenson (69) in sitting at 13-under par entering Sunday’s play at Albany, Bahamas.

Finau, ranked 14thin the world and in search of his second professional victory, enjoyed a career year during the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season. In 28 starts, he made 25 cuts and registered 11 top-10s – including three runner-up finishes – and finished sixth in the FedExCup standings. Finau followed an opening-round 72 with scores of 64 and 67. Saturday, he rebounded from his only bogey of the day on No. 2 by birdieing three of the next four holes, and carded two birds on the back nine. He played the par 5s in 4-under par.

“I played nicely,” Finau said. “I took care of the par 5s, and on this golf course, we have five of them. I think that’s what you have to do to play well, so I was able to do that today.

“It’s a good position to be in, and if I play well tomorrow, then I know I’ll have a chance to win.”

Rahm put himself in great position to earn his third career victory with an up-and-down round that saw him card his second straight score in the 60s. The Spaniard had a birdie chance from the fringe lip out on the 18th hole that would have given him the outright lead.

“Well, it was just really solid tee to green – again, not many mistakes,” said Rahm, who will play in the final group Sunday just behind Stenson – a player he first met when he was a kid dreaming of a career in professional golf.

“There’s a picture from I think it was 2007 possibly, something like that, 10-to-11 years ago where I was in Valderrama as a kid and Henrik was signing my shirt.”

Stenson is the owner of six PGA TOUR wins, including the 2016 Open Championship, and 13 victories on the European Tour. The 42-year-old Swede shared the lead entering Saturday with Rahm and had four birdies on the front nine but stumbled a bit on the back with a pair of bogeys.

Gary Woodland (67) will enter the final round two shots off the lead, and defending champion Rickie Fowler (67) is three shots back. The only player to win consecutive Hero World Challenges in the event’s 19 previous playings is tournament host Tiger Woods, in 2006 and ’07.

“I remember last year the start that Rickie had (in the final round) was 8 under through 9, right? So it’s anyone’s tournament at this stage, and I’m just happy to be in that position,” Stenson said.

“I feel like I’ve been grinding out well, a lot of short shots around the greens this week, bunker up and downs, pitch up and downs and tidy chips, and cleaning up nice around the greens and made my fair share or more on the greens. So it’s been a good week for the short game and the putting.”

The most interesting round of the day came from Alex Noren, whose final five holes went birdie, eagle, triple bogey, eagle (a hole-in-one), birdie. His third-round 70 leaves him five shots off the lead.

A number of players wore “41” on their hats Saturday in honor of late President George H.W. Bush, who passed away late Friday, and flags were flown at half-staff. Golf was a big part of Bush’s life. In 2011, he was honored for his contributions to the game with induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

The final round of the 2018 Hero World Challenge tees off Sunday at 10:42 a.m. ET, with exclusive lead-in coverage on Golf Channel from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. followed by the live broadcast on NBC from 1-4 p.m.