Pro Golf Weekly

Kraft, Varner Share 54-Hole Lead at The Greenbrier

Kelly Kraft and Harold Varner III will head into Sunday’s final round of A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier with a share of the lead at 14-under par.

Kelly Kraft lines up a putt on the 18th green during round three of A Military Tribute At The Greenbrier at the Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Photo Credit: Michael Owens/Getty Images

It appeared Kraft was going to carry his half-time lead into Sunday after reeling off three-straight birdies on Nos. 10-12 to get to 16-under par. But the 29-year old Texan struggled with his putter down the stretch and closed with bogeys on Nos. 16 and 18 to settle for a 69 and a share of the top billing.

Afterwards, Kraft blamed the conditions of the greens for his late-round struggles with the flatstick.

“I’m just going to stay patient tomorrow. I hit a lot of good shots today. The greens got really kind of crusty and hard out there, different than the first couple days, and especially on the back nine, there were two or three greens that were just — they were borderline rolling too fast, so you kind of had to feel it in your feet before you putted and realize that some greens out there were just quicker than others, and I struggled with my speed a little bit,” said a frustrated Kraft.

“Obviously I missed a couple short ones that were good putts, I just hit them too hard, because if you get a downhill putt, it could potentially be three or four feet faster than what you’re used to.

“So hopefully they put a little bit of water on them tonight and so everything gets a little more consistent tomorrow, but other than that, it was a pretty good day.”

The 27-year old Varner, meanwhile, carded 10-straight pars, but closed with four birdies heading home to post a third-straight round of 66 or better (66-64-66) at the Old White Course.

“I feel good,” said Varner, when asked how it feels to be on top after 54 holes.

“Just I wish we could go play right now. But yeah, I’m pretty hungry. But other than that, just ready to go. I’m ready to see what happens.

“This is what you work for. This is what I get so pumped up to do. This is why you work.”

He will join Kraft in Sunday’s final pairing, as both Americans seek their first PGA Tour victory.

Xander Schauffele hits a shot during the third round of the 2018 A Military Tribute At The Greenbrier at Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Defending champion Xander Schauffele birdied 14 and then holed-out for eagle from a greenside bunker on 17 en rout to a third-day 65. The defending champion sits T3 at 13-under par, alongside Kevin Na, who also rode a back-nine birdie and eagle to a 65.

“It’s all good. Just waking up, I didn’t have a number in my mind, but I wanted to be in one of the last three groups,” said Schauffele, who will be the betting favorite on Sunday.

“That was sort of my goal, and it looks like we’re going to be there going into tomorrow. So all good vibes.”

One further back was Sam Saunders, who made gains on Nos. 12 and 17 to grab the five-spot at 12-under par.

Bubba Watson was just three back at 11-under par, and well positioned for season win No. 4, following an impressive round of 65 on Saturday.

India’s Anirban Lahiri followed up a Friday 61 with a 71 and sits T6, alongside Watson and Joel Dahmen (67).

Ryan Moore (67), Ryan Armour (67), Jamie Lovemark (67), and Jason Kokrak were T9 at 10-under par.

A MILITARY TRIBUTE AT THE GREENBRIER

THE TOP 10 LEADERS

POS-PLAYER-TOTAL SCORE (TODAY)
1. Harold Varner III -14 (-4)
1. Kelly Kraft -14 (-1)
3. Xander Schauffele -13 (-5)
3. Kevin Na -13 (-5)
5. Sam Saunders -12 (-3)
6. Bubba Watson -11 (-5)
6. Anirban Lahiri -11 (+1)
6. Joel Dahmen -11 (-3)
9. Ryan Moore -10 (-3)
9. Ryan Armour -10 (-3)
9. Jamie Lovemark -10 (-3)
9. Jason Kokrak -10 (+1)
Full Leaderboard


LEADERS’ STATS

Cumulative through 54 holes
Driving:
– Harold Varner III – 333.4 yards
– Kelly Kraft – 296.7 yards

Fairways:
– Harold Varner III – 27/42, 64.3%
– Kelly Kraft – 33/42, 73.8%

Greens:
– Harold Varner III – 45/54, 83.3%
– Kelly Kraft – 42/54, 77.8%

Par-3 Scoring:
– Harold Varner III -2 (3 Birdies, 8 Pars, 1 Bogey)
– Kelly Kraft E (2 Birdies, 8 Pars, 2 Bogeys)

Par-4 Scoring:
– Harold Varner III -7 (8 Birdies, 27 Pars, 1 Bogey)
– Kelly Kraft -13 (14 Birdies, 21 Pars, 1 Bogeys)

Par-5 Scoring:
– Harold Varner III -5 (5 Birdies, 4 Pars)
– Kelly Kraft -13 (14 Birdies, 21 Pars, 1 Bogeys)


VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS


EXIT QUESTION: HAROLD VARNER III

Harold Varner III acknowledges the crowd on the 18th green after finishing his third round of A Military Tribute At The Greenbrier at the Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Photo Credit: Michael Owens/Getty Images

Q: You just demonstrated how candid you can be. We know you as somebody who likes to have fun. You don’t press too much. But have you ever been in a situation not exactly in the last group to go out on a Sunday, but when you felt like you were pressing, and how do you deal with the nerves and any frustration you might face?

VARNER III: Just — that’s a tough one. I think keeping it in perspective. I think at the end of the day, we play golf for a living.

You know, when it’s all said and done, no one is going to remember who won, whatever, the 2018 Greenbrier in 60 years. It’s just fact. But I enjoy pushing myself and seeing how good I can get at this game.

Personally, it means a lot. But in the grand scheme of things — I mean, look at the 12 kids that are in Thailand stuck in a hole. I mean, you’ve just got to keep it in perspective. It’s humbling, I think.


Credit: Getty Images, European Tour Media, Fastscripts


PGW Staff

This post was produced by a Pro Golf Weekly staff member.

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