It wasn’t pretty, but Henrik Stenson took on weather that was better suited for duck hunting than golf, and a hard charging Dustin Johnson to retain a four shot lead after 54 holes at the Tour Championship on Saturday afternoon. It was a miserable day, but with no threat of lightning in the area, the PGA Tour kept the golfers on the course, and are on schedule for a Sunday finish at East Lake Golf Course. Sunday tee times begin at 11:35 Eastern Time with the leaders taking the first tee at around 2:00 PM. The weather is expected to be much better today.
Stenson began his third round, playing in threesomes with Adam Scott, and Jordan Spieth on Saturday afternoon, and quickly resumed his machine-like approach to the game. It seemed as the intensity of the rain picked up, the more his game went in the tank. After putting four birdies on the card through the ninth hole and making the turn at four under par for the day, he started the meltdown at number ten with only his third bogey of the tournament.
The more the rain came down, the more Stenson started to look human instead of the golfing machine we had seen for two days. He made three more bogeys down the stretch and closed with a one under 69, but limped into the clubhouse with a four shot lead over Dustin Johnson.
“It definitely would have been a comfier ride coming back in if it hadn’t started raining,” said Stenson, who shot a 1-under 69. “It was tough to finish, and I hit a couple of bad shots, and it’s hard to find your rhythm again when you’re out in conditions like these.”
Dustin Johnson, who arrived at East Lake in the 30th position on the FedEx Cup list found the rain to his liking. As scores around the course started to go up because of the weather, Dustin started making birdies. He was able to make three birdies down the stretch and will be playing in the last group with the leader on Sunday.
Johnson started too far back to have a realistic chance to win the FedEx Cup, but a nice round on Sunday could net him a pretty nice check, and with a win would become the player who won the first tournament at Maui, and the last at East Lake. Dustin has a penchant for final-round mistakes, and will need his A-Game on Sunday if he wants to beat the machine.
“If I keep driving it straight, then I’m going to give him a run tomorrow.”
At eleven under par, and with a four-shot lead over Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson looks almost invincible. Steve Stricker is two more back at five under par and would have a chance if Stenson has a meltdown on Sunday. Four players at four under par would seem to have a chance if the meltdown comes, and if they shoot a great round.
Zach Johnson, Justin Rose, Billy Horschel, and rookie Jordan Spieth are all within striking distance with a chance, albeit a slim one if the leaders struggle. I don’t see anyone from that group winning the tournament, but Stricker, and Zach Johnson are close enough to win the FedEx Cup and not the tournament.