Bryson DeChambeau carded a sporty 8-under-par 63 on Saturday to seize a four-shot lead at 16 under after three rounds of play at The Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., in the first of the PGA Tour’s four FedExCup Playoff events.
Keegan Bradley fashioned a 62 on Saturday to move up 31 spots into second place at 12 under. Bradley’s shot total was the lowest score of the week and tied the course record set by Hunter Mahan in 2008.
“I knew that if I wanted to be on top of the leaderboard then I was going to have to take it deep today, and that’s what I did,” DeChambeau told CBS Sports after the round. “I brought some confidence this week. We are all just trying to figure things out.”
Australia’s Cameron Smith (65) and Tony Finau (66, including a hole-out eagle from the fairway on the par-4 12th) are tied for third at 11 under, five shots off DeChambeau’s pace.
Billy Horschel’s 65 boosted his standing 19 spots into a tie for fifth place with Australia’s Adam Scott, who fashioned a 70 on Saturday after birdieing three of his last four holes.
Seven players finished the third round at 9 under, including U.S. Open and PGA Tournament champion Brooks Koepka (72), Jordan Spieth (64), Beau Hossler (66), Chez Reavie (67), Patrick Cantlay (68), Phil Mickelson (68) and Canada’s Adam Hadwin (68).
Koepka held a share of the lead entering the day with Jamie Lovemark, who stumbled to a 73 and dropped into a tie for 14th at 8 under.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson (72), the defending champion of this tournament, is in a tie for 20th at 7 under.
Tiger Woods had a 68 on Saturday to climb into a tie for 49th place. It was Woods’ first bogey-free round on the PGA Tour since The Greenbrier in 2015.
After the round, Woods admitted that he’s too far back to win but set a goal to get to 10 under, which would take a 64 in the final round.
“That would be a nice way to end the week,” Woods said. “It’s not going to win, but at least I can get some good momentum going into Boston and on a golf course that I’ve won before.”
DeChambeau, who began the day tied for fourth place, had nine birdies and one bogey on his third-round scorecard. He made the turn in 4-under 31 and picked up four shots on the back nine, ending with birdies on the par-5 17th and par-4 18th.
Players on the PGA Tour with a lead of four or more shots after 54 holes have gone on to win almost 81 percent of the time.
DeChambeau is in search of his second win of the season — he won the Memorial Tournament on June 3 — and the third victory of his PGA Tour career. DeChambeau is currently ranked No. 21 in the World Golf Rankings.
DeChambeau ranks ninth in the Ryder Cup standings and is trying impress U.S. captain Jim Furyk enough to earn one of the squad’s four captain’s picks. A win this week would be impossible for Furyk to ignore.
“I’m on a mission (to be on the Ryder Cup team),” DeChambeau said. “It’s been a lot of work but all in all it’s been a great year overall. I’ve struggled a little here and there and recently I’ve just tried to focus and grind and get it back on the driving range.”
Bradley forged a bogey-free round on Saturday, birdieing his first three holes, adding another three-birdie stretch starting at No. 12 and closing the round with back-to-back birdies to move into contention for his first PGA Tour victory since 2012.
“I can’t remember the last time I felt that calm and together the whole round from the very first tee,” said Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner. “I actually felt calmer as the day went on. It’s not really normally the case with me. That was fun.”
The Northern Trust began with a field of 119 players out of the 125 that qualified for the playoffs. The cut after the second round was at even-par and included 80 players who advanced to the third round.
After this event, the top 100 players in the FedExCup points standings will advance to next week’s Dell Technologies Championship outside Boston. Furyk will announce three of his captain’s picks following the Dell Technologies Championship, and the final selection will be revealed after the BMW Championship on Sept. 9.
—Field Level Media