Russell Henley – Getty Images
Vegas, Nevada, Oct 18: Russell Henley seeking to end a three-year title drought shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 even to open up a three-shot lead after the third round of THE CJ CUP @ Shadow Creek on Saturday. Meanwhile, the second round leader Xander Schauffele (74) and first round leader Tyrrell Hatton (73) slipped to T-second and T-sixth at the US$9.75 million tournament featuring 25 players from the top-30 of last season’s FedExCup standings.
Henley, 31, birdied 4, 7, 10, 11 and 12 for a three-day aggregate of 15-under 201 as he rallied from an overnight four-shot deficit to lead from Lanto Griffin (66), Talor Gooch (69), Jason Kokrak (68) and overnight leader Schauffele (74). Henley’s last victory came at the 2017 Houston Open.
Australia’s Jason Day birdied two of his last three holes for a 66 to share sixth place on 206, five off the pace, alongside defending champion Justin Thomas, who stayed in contention with a 68, and Hatton (73).
Schauffele, who finished second on the FedExCup final standings last season, struggled off the tee as he found only six fairways. But he also knows that each of his four previous PGA TOUR victories were come-from-behind wins.
Bidding a third CJ CUP title in four years, Justin Thomas was disappointed he didn’t finish the day closer to the new leader following a round that featured six birdies against two dropped shots.
Two-time FedExCup winner Rory McIlroy carded his week’s best of 66 which featured eight birdies and sits seven shots behind Henley.
Brooks Koepka, the 2018 CJ CUP winner and making a comeback from injury this week after a two-month layoff, shot his second successive 68 for a 210 total.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama carded a 70 for a share of 10th place to stay as the leading Asian in the elite field while Si Woo Kim, the 2017 PLAYERS Championship winner, carded a 69 for tied 28th place to end the day as the highest ranked Korean out of the 11 in the field.