Si Woo Kim carded a day-three 62 at Sedgefield Country Club and will enter Sunday’s finale of the Wyndham Championship with a two-shot lead.
Highlighted by a hole-in-one on the par-3 third hole, the 25-year old Korean was lights-out impressive during his Saturday round at the classic Greensboro golf course, adding seven birdies against a lone bogey to reach 18-under par.
“This course, you just have to keep hitting the fairway to make your second shot easier – that’s the big key here,” said Kim, who won here in 2016. “And the greens are tough, but if you don’t miss short-side, it’s not too difficult. Hopefully, tomorrow – even with a little bit of pressure, I’m going to keep fighting and hopefully get a win.”
Rob Oppenheim appeared to be on his way to a solo second-place spot but a dropped shot on the final hole saw the 40-year old sign for a 62 to tie Doc Redman (63) at 16-under par.
One further back was Billy Horschel, who was part of a four-way tie for first-place at halftime. The former Florida Gator overcame a bogey on the par-5 15th with two closing birdies (Nos. 16 and 18) to post 65 and reach 15-under par, good for solo fourth-place, just three off the pace of Kim.
“Yeah, it was huge. I mean, when you’re in the middle of the fairway, you’ve got 245 to the pin and you’re not thinking — at worst you’re thinking birdie, maybe par, and I just — Scott and I just got — we just didn’t think enough about the golf shot, where we were trying to leave it and land it and where we couldn’t leave it,” said Horschel on his bogey at 15.
“It was just tough to make a bogey on a hole that you know you can get one shot back. And especially with Si Woo, I knew he was playing well. He hit some good golf shots, I knew he was going to at least get to 17 or 18.
“I knew I needed to make some birdies coming in. To make one at 16 and 18 was nice. This was my mess-up on 17 there, just had a bad number in my head that I was thinking instead of the correct number. But that was huge to make some birdies coming in.”
Jim Herman shot a bogey-free 9-under par 61, which included nine pars and nine birdies, highlighted by five straight gains on Nos. 13-17. With the day’s co-low round, the 42-year old Ohio native moved up 31 positions, and into a tie for fifth place alongside Mark Hubabrd (64).
“Yeah, 61, it’s great anytime you can do that. Just gave myself good looks. You’ve got to be below the hole, got to have makeable putts out here or you’re going to be playing defensive. If you’re above the hole, you’re going to be just lagging all day long,” said Herman, who needs a top-3 finish to make the playoffs.
“I had a really good approach game today, I think I hit almost every green. The one green I did miss, I putted in from off the green. Really a lot of good looks and we’ll see if we can keep that up tomorrow.”
Peter Malnati (64) and Webb Simpson (65) were T7, and one further back, on 13-under par.
Highlighted by eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie to close his front-nine and three straight gains on Nos. 16, 17, and 18 to close his round, Zach Johnson matched Herman’s day-low 61 to reach 12-under par, good for T9 alongside Kevin Kisner (65), Tyler Duncan (66), Harold Varner (67), and Talor Gooch (68).
“You know, quite honestly, I think my last — well, I guess my last three or four holes yesterday were probably even bigger,” said Johnson, who needs a top-10 finish to punch a ticket to Boston and the first leg of the FedExCup Playoffs.
“The irony is the first two days I really didn’t play that much worse, I just didn’t score. I didn’t make many putts. Hit it close a few times, I had three three-putts and a four-putt. That just kills ya.
“So, I mean, those that have been around me and know me, my team in particular, obviously my caddie and my coaches know that something like — maybe not to this degree, but something like this is not that surprising based on what I’ve seen.
“Is it big? Yeah, sure, it’s big. But, I mean, every round’s big.”
On a day with scores deep in the red, Jordan Spieth shot an even-par 70 with three bogeys against one eagle and one birdie to sit T67 on 3-under par. The three-time major winning Texan was 15 shots back.
Leaderboard: Top 5
Pos-Player-To Par (Today)
1. Si Woo Kim -18 (-8)
2. Rob Oppenheim -16 (-8)
2. Doc Redman -16 (-7)
4. Billy Horschel -15 (-5)
5. Jim Herman -14 (-9)
5. Mark Hubbard -14 (-6)
Driving: Will Gordon (325.5 yards)
Fairways: Chris Kirk (37/42, 88.1%)
Greens: Jim Herman (48/54, 88.9%)
Putts/GIR: Si Woo Kim (1.535)
Birdies: Si Woo Kim (21)
Video: Round-3 Highlights
A look at the highlights from Sedgefield Country Club during the third round of the Wyndham Championship.
Excited About Ace!
“So I just hit it and the ball goes right at the pin. I thought, ‘That would be good, if number’s good, that would be good.’
“I was not expecting the ace, but some guys were yelling at me and I felt like it was just a tap-in, really close, but some TV guys told me, ‘that’s an ace’ and I was so excited.”
– Si Woo Kim