It was a wacky day at Liberty National Golf Club for the third round of the 2019 Northern Trust as stars faded, veterans went low andwith his slow play (more on that below). Patrick Reed is 14 under and your Saturday evening leader. He’ll play in the final pairing with Abraham Ancer on Sunday looking for his first victory since the 2018 Masters.
Here are five things to watch for on Sunday and the finale of the first playoff event of 2019.
1. Reed time: We’ve seen this before. Reed won this tournament (then The Barclays) back in 2016 at Bethpage Black. The great news for him is that he’s No. 2 in the field in strokes gained tee to green, and like the guy a bit behind him (see below), he hasn’t started putting well yet. Reed has been slowly working himself back into top form after a bit of wandering following that Masters victory 15 months ago. He labored at times on Saturday, but I would be surprised if he totally faded on Sunday.
2. Rahm around turn four: There’s a reason Reed is +200 to win and Rahm is just +350. He hit it beautifully on Saturday but finished 77th in the field in putting. That sets us up for a few putts falling early, and Rahm dropping the hammer on Reed down the stretch. It would be the culmination of a wicked summer for Rahm. In his last eight events worldwide, he has a T9 at the Masters, T3 at the U.S. Open, T2 at the Andalucia Masters, win at the Irish Open, T11 at The Open and seventh-place finish at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Most underrated three-month stretch of any top player.
3. D.J./Spieth bounce? The two combined to shoot 148 with eight bogeys and a double on Saturday. Not good! D.J. is five back, and Spieth trails by six. It’s not likely that either will run down Reed, but I’m interested to see how they — especially Spieth — play on Sunday in light of their uninspiring work on Saturday.
4. Bryson vs. the world: This is actually what I’m most excited about, though. DeChambeau got lit up by loads of fellow pro golfers for the ridiculous amount of time he took over a putt in Friday’s round. He fired back on Saturday with some jaw-dropping quotes about how he’s actually fast, or if not fast then at least unique and yo, look at those slow caddies over there. This will not end here, nor will it end quietly. I’m pulling out a chair and popping all of the popcorn.
5. First-time victory: We’re inching closer to a 15th first-time champ with Ancer playing alongside Reed in the final round on Sunday. This is a sign of two things. The first is that golf has never been deeper. There are dozens of stars in the middle of their primes, and no-time champs are still taking trophies. The second is that a condensed major season has provided more opportunities for rookies and lesser-known players. That’s not the case this week, but it warrants mentioning overall.
CBS Sports was you the entire way Saturday updating this story with the latest scores, analysis and highlights from Round 3 of The Northern Trust. If you are unable to view the live updates below, please click here. Can’t get enough golf? Subscribe to The First Cut with Kyle Porter where we take a weekly look at everything in the world of golf.
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