Vijay Singh shot a third-round score of 65 at PGA National, and will enter Sunday’s Honda Classic finale at 6-under par, just one off the pace of leader Wyndham Clark.
The 25-year old Clark started his third round on fire with five birdies over his first seven holes to reach 9 under, but struggled down the stretch, finishing his final 11 at 2 over to fall back to 7-under par, still good enough for the 54-hole lead.
“I felt like I managed where I hit the ball,” said Clark. “I put it in good spots. As long as I keep giving myself chances to make putts, I think I can win.”
The 56-year old Singh carded just one bogey against six birdies, highlighted by two gains over his final four holes to punch a ticket into Sunday’s final group.
Seeking his 35th career PGA Tour victory, Singh will be paired with the rookie Clark, who’ll be looking to make his very first trip to the winner’s circle as a pro.
With a win in Palm Gardens, Florida, Singh would become the oldest winner in PGA Tour history, by a lot – blowing by Sam Snead, who won at Greensboro at the tender age of 52.
For historical context, seven players have won a PGA Tour title after their 50th birthday, but none older than Snead (52 years, 10 months, 8 days) in the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open.
“It would be great. I’ve worked pretty hard. I’m physically quite capable of doing it,” said Singh, who won the 1999 Honda Classic when Clark was just 5 years old.
“Mentally, I’m going to go out there and see how my mind works. If I just don’t let anything interfere, I think I can do it.”
Kyoung-Hoon Lee (68) and Keith Mitchell (70) were alongside Singh at T2. The trio was one clear of Rickie Fowler who was alone in fifth-place on 5 under, following a 66.
“He’s been one of the game’s best,” Fowler said of Singh.
“He’s a ball-striker. He’s not as long as he used to be, but on this golf course you don’t necessarily have to be long. It’s about getting the ball in the fairway and hitting your lines and hitting numbers. You don’t necessarily have to go out and do anything special.”
Some 28 players were within five shots of the lead, and with heavy winds expected on Sunday afternoon, things could get interesting at PGA National’s Champions Course, long considered one of the toughest on the PGA Tour.
First-round leader Jhonattan Vegas (69), Brooks Koepka (70), and Michael Thompson (66) were 4 under, while Sergio Garcia shot 70 for the second straight day to reach 3 under.
Even players like defending champion Justin Thomas, who’s at 1-under par – and six back, have an outside chance to make some noise, considering the experience of who’s on top of the board, coupled with the pending weather.
THE HONDA CLASSIC: ROUND 3
TOP 5 LEADERS
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 2)
1. Wyndham Clark -7 (-3)
2. Vijay Singh -6 (-5)
2. Kyoung-Hoon Lee -6 (-2)
2. Keith Mitchell -6 (E)
5. Rickie Fowler -5 (-4)
Driving: Grayson Murray – 315.2 yards (T54)
Fairways: Ryan Armour – 36/42, 85.7% (T6)
Greens: Rickie Fowler – 38/54, 70.4% (5)
Putts/GIR: Rory Sabbatini – 1.571 (T19)
Birdies: Wyndham Clark – 16 (1)
Pars: Brian Gay – 44 (T54)
Bogeys: Byeong-Hun An – 12 (T66)
Credit: PGA TOUR
What’s it going to take to win tomorrow?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, another round like today. I’m playing — I played great today, and I’ve got the new putter that I’ve used, this is the second week, and it’s a long putter, and that kind of inspired me, and I’m putting really well with it. Putting is another thing that kind of stopped me from scoring well, and this week I made a lot of putts with it, and I hope I can do that again tomorrow.
What are you going to do tonight to mentally prepare yourself to go out there and win this thing tomorrow?
WYNDHAM CLARK: Well, what I do every night. I always play cards with my caddie, so we’ll play some cards. I’ll just relax, and then I’ll do some stuff — talk to my coach, do some stuff at night, but do the same thing I do every night.