Russell Henley wasn’t lighting up the scoreboard as he’d done the previous two rounds at Sedgefield Country Club, but a 1-under 69 was good enough to secure a three-shot lead after 54 holes of the Wyndham Championship.
After sleeping on a four-shot advantage, the 32-year-old Georgian played somewhat conservatively on Saturday – making just two birdies, while capitalizing on the two par-5s (birdie-eagle), to sit atop the 54-hole leaderboard on 15-under par.
“Yeah, I’m not always going to shoot 62 or 64,” said Henley. “I feel thankful to be under par today.
“I feel like mentally I was pretty tough considering how I was feeling.
“I was really doing a good job of committing to all my shots, but you’ve just got to hit fairways out here. And my bogey on 11 came from hitting the fairway, so just a little bit sloppy, but overall made some good decisions, made some really nice up-and-downs and I’m thankful for where I am.”
In Sunday’s final grouping, Henley will be paired with Tyler McCumber, who shot a bogey-free round of 66 to sit solo second on 12 under.
“Yeah, obviously being sort of an old-school Donald Ross course, there’s a lot of strategy here,” said McCumber, who’s the son of former PGA Tour star Mark McCumber.
“Being in the right parts of the fairway, angles. Definitely a thinker’s course as well as executing it properly and I feel like I’ve been doing that pretty well.”
Branden Grace (64), Roger Sloan (64), Kevin Kisner (66), Kevin Na (67), Scott Piercy (69) and Rory Sabbatini (69) were tied for third on 11-under par.
One further back, at 10-under par, was a six-player logjam at T9, headlined by Adam Scott (64), Justin Rose (69) and Webb Simpson (70).
Despite a grinding type round, Rose was still well positioned to secure a top-10 finish he needs to qualify and for the FedExCup playoffs.
“Yeah, I’d like to have been closer to the lead so I can go ahead and focus on winning the golf tournament, but that will still be a pretty good goal tomorrow,” said Rose.
“Go and try and shoot low and make something happen, kind of that takes care of the business either way, right?
“Yeah, it’s an awkward situation to be in tomorrow, but it’s one that’s going to be fun to go out there and try and practice all the good habits that you have to do when you win golf tournaments.
“No matter what the situation is, each shot is pressurized so you’ve got to go ahead and play well through that, so it’s a good opportunity tomorrow to do that.”
Scott also entered Greensboro on the playoff bubble, but at No. 121 he had more breathing room, and needed just a top-35 finish to qualify. The Aussie appears well on his way to his 15th straight playoff appearance.
“Yeah, the game’s felt good. Sometimes it just has to come down to do or die to actually find it,” said Scott. “I don’t know why it’s so hard other weeks of the year, you can’t fake that mindset, but this is what it is.
“It’s like qualifying this week for me, so I’ve got to get it done.
“I’d like to have another nice round tomorrow and see how far I can jump up going into next week on a course I’ve won at before and you’d just like to take some good form in.
“You just never know.”
Wyndham Championship Leaderboard
Round-3: Top 10
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 3)
1. Russell Henley -15 (-1)
2. Tyler McCumber -12 (-4)
3. Branden Grace -11 (-6)
3. Roger Sloan -11 (-6)
3. Kevin Kisner -11 (-4)
3. Kevin Na -11 (-3)
3. Scott Piercy -11 (-1)
3. Rory Sabbatini -11 (-1)
9. Adam Scott -10 (-6)
9. Hudson Swafford -10 (-3)
9. Kevin Streelman -10 (-2)
9. Justin Rose -10 (-1)
9. Tyler Duncan -10 (-1)
9. Webb Simpson -10 (E)
9. Adam Scott -10 (-6)
15. Will Zalatoris -9 (-5)
15. Sungjae Im -9 (-3)
15. Si Woo Kim -9 (-3)
23. Chris Kirk -8 (-1)
28. Aaron Wise -7 (-3)
36. Matt Kuchar -6 (+1)
51. Tommy Fleetwood -4 (+1)
51. Bubba Watson -4 (E)