John Huh, Patrick Reed share 3rd round lead at Wyndham
Charles Howell III disqualified prior to round
John Huh refused to let tough conditions — and one terrible hole — get him down. He was rewarded with a share of the lead at the Wyndham Championship.
The PGA Tour's reigning rookie of the year shot an even-par 70 on Saturday and joined Patrick Reed atop the field after a soggy third round. Huh and Reed, the second-round leader who shot a 71, were at 10-under 200.
Huh shook off a triple bogey on his second hole, making up for it with three birdies in a four-hole stretch of the back nine.
"Since the rain picked it up this morning, it wasn't easy for us to play out there, but I told myself, 'Be patient, stay dry and keep grinding out there,"' Huh said.
Zach Johnson had the day's best round — a 66 — and was one stroke back along with Bob Estes and John Deere winner Jordan Spieth. Estes shot 68, and Spieth had a 70.
Eight players were within two shots of the lead.
"It's a Monday qualifier," Reed said. "I had a lot of success at Monday qualifiers, and that's basically what it is. I let everybody back in the field and to now, all of a sudden to have it as bunched as it is, it's going to be whoever can make as many birdies as possible tomorrow and shoot a low number."
There weren't many of those during a rainy day at a Sedgefield Country Club course with challenging pin placements. Play was halted for 2 hours, 59 minutes in the morning while the soaked course could dry out somewhat.
Tour officials moved up Sunday's final-round tee times in an attempt to beat the rain, just as they did for the third round when they sent players off in threesomes at the first and 10th tees.
Play was halted when early morning showers rendered the Donald Ross-designed course unplayable. Rain fell intermittently throughout the day, and though players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls, the conditions played havoc with virtually everyone on the course.
"I don't remember a time when there wasn't even a mist in the air," Johnson said. "But the course held up considering. ... The greens were still fast."
Average day all around
It was the worst total score for a third-round leader since the tournament moved back to this course in 2008. Every other 72-hole leader here in that span was at least 14 under.
Only 13 players shot better than par 70, after 78 players did it Thursday and 63 Friday.
Huh began the day one stroke off the lead after a career-best 62 in the second round. His seven on the par-4 second caused him to plummet down the leaderboard.
Turns out that was his only bad hole: He followed that with 10 straight pars before a birdie binge in which he landed approach shots on the 13th and 15th holes within inches of the flagsticks.
Reed, the 23-year-old PGA Tour rookie who led by one stroke after two rounds, looked as if he might be in trouble after a pair of bogeys midway through the round dropped him two strokes behind Spieth.
Then Reed got hot.
The turning point, he said, was a strong drive on the par-4 14th that eventually set up his 20-foot birdie putt.
He followed that with impressive approach shots on the next two holes that left him with birdie putts of 5 feet that he sank, moving him to 11 under.
He was inches from a fourth straight birdie when his putt on the 17th trickled past the cup, and he slipped back to 10 under when his par putt on the 18th trickled inches wide.
Johnson was one of the few players who didn't seem to struggle much on this soggy day, with five birdies during a round that was bogey free until the last hole.
The 2007 Masters champion began the day at 5 under — six strokes behind Reed, but methodically pushed his way up the leaderboard during the round. Then, he surged to the top with two birdies in a four-hole span of the back nine.
He placed his approach shot on the par-4 14th roughly 15 feet from the flagstick and sank that putt to move to 10 under. A three-putt on the 18th for bogey dropped him back.
"Frankly, for 17 holes, I didn't look like I was going to sniff a bogey," Johnson said. "For the most part, it was solid from hole 1 to hole 18."
Charles Howell III was disqualified before starting his round because tour officials said he used a non-conforming driver during the second round.
The weight port cover on his driver came off while he was on the driving range and he played his round Friday with it — which was not allowed.
Howell shot a 68 during that round to move five strokes behind Reed, the two-day leader, but will receive no prize money and no playoff points.