Cameron Smith fired a course-record 60 on Saturday at Liberty National and will enter the final round of The Northern Trust tied for the lead with Jon Rahm at 16-under par.
The 28-year-old Aussie finished his third day in New Jersey with seven pars and 11 birdies, including five gains on his first six holes and four more in a five-hole span down the stretch to reach the top of the leaderboard.
Based on the projected path of Hurricane Henri, the PGA Tour rescheduled the final round for Monday, which seemed to please Smith.
“Yeah, I don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow,” said Smith. “I’ve never been in this situation tomorrow. Probably just a little bit of a rest.
“A round like this usually takes it out of you a little bit, the adrenaline, the highs and the lows. Sleep in. Maybe a little bit of gym and come out Monday firing.”
Rahm, who’s held a share of the lead since day one, produced a 67 on Saturday to keep pace with the red-hot Smith.
“I have no idea,” said Rahm, when asked what he’ll do with a day off on Sunday. “I’m going to say, you know, it’s the third time I’m saying on the interviews, because I can’t repeat this enough to myself: If COVID quarantine has taught us anything, it’s what to do the whole day cooped up in a room.
“We’re at a hotel, so instead of me getting up to get food, I can room service the food and hopefully the fitness center and spa and some of the amenities at the hotel are open and we can take advantage of it. At the same time we have a four month old in the room that needs a lot of attention. Take a lot of walks around the hotel, I don’t know, but it’s definitely going to be a fun family day.”
Erik Van Rooyen made a bogey on the first hole, then reeled off 17 bogey-free holes, highlighted by 10 birdies, en route to a 62 and a three-day score of 15-under par.
“Yeah, just stoked,” said the 31-year-old South African. “Hit the ball great, and then when you add a putter to, it good things happen. Really, really happy.”
Tony Finau (68) and Justin Thomas (67) were one further back on 14 under and rounded out the top-5 leaders in Jersey City.
Finau finished with four birdies against one bogey, while Thomas offset a double bogey on the par-3 14th hole with six birdies, highlighted by some lengthy key putts.
“I played really well,” said Thomas. “I drove it well. My swing felt good. Hit a lot of quality irons. Hit a lot of really good putts. Just wasn’t reading them that well.
“Would have been nice to hit something a little bit closer to the hole. I had a lot of those kind of like 18- to 25-footers that you’d like it make but realistically you’re not going to make too many of them.
“I played really solid. I hit a really good shot on 14 today that it literally was a foot from being a 15-footer for birdie but it just landed on a little firm spot on that back fringe and ended up with a double but I played solid today.”
Viktor Hovland (65), Tom Hoge (67) and Shane Lowry (62) were tied for sixth-place on 13 under, one clear of Harold Varner III (68) and Corey Conners (62) who were T9 on 12 under.
The 2021 Northern Trust
Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 3)
1. Cameron Smith -16 (-11)
1. Jon Rahm -16 (-4)
3. Erik van Rooyen -15 (-9)
4. Justin Thomas -14 (-4)
4. Tony Finau -14 (-3)
6. Shane Lowry -13 (-9)
6. Viktor Hovland -13 (-6)
6. Tom Hoge -13 (-4)
9. Corey Conners -12 (-9)
9. Harold Varner III -12 (-3)
Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 3)
11. Sam Burns -11 (-7)
11. Brooks Koepka -11 (-3)
11. Xander Schauffele -11 (-1)
17. Lee Westwood -10 (-3)
24. Patrick Cantlay -9 (-2)
28. Cameron Champ -8 (-4)
34. Jordan Spieth -7 (+1)
40. Rory McIlroy -6 (-5)
40. Paul Casey -6 (-5)
40. Scottie Scheffler -6 (-2)
40. Harris English -6 (-1)
40. Hideki Matsuyama -6 (-1)
50. Daniel Berger -5 (-4)
50. Bryson DeChambeau -5 (+1)
60. Gary Woodland -4 (-3)
60. Ian Poulter -4 (E)
64. Webb Simpson -3 (+1)
Material from PGA Tour Media & Communications was used to compile report.