TOUR Championship 2023: 3 Instant Reactions to Saturday Leaderboard Scores

TOUR Championship 2023: 3 Instant Reactions to Saturday Leaderboard Scores
Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVAugust 27, 2023

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 26:  Viktor Hovland of Norway lines up a putt on the fourth green during the third round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on August 26, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

What was shaping up to be a tight race at the halfway mark might have turned into a landslide for Viktor Hovland at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

With three rounds now in the books in the 2023 TOUR Championship, Hovland leads Xander Schauffele by six strokes at minus-20 overall. Seven shots separate him from Collin Morikawa and Keegan Bradley in third place.

The Norwegian carded a four-under 66 on Saturday.


The Title is Viktor Hovland’s to Lose

Hovland looked like a terminator in contrast to many others near the top of the leaderboard, and he watched his lead widen as the day wore on thanks to his consistency.

The 25-year-old was really rubbing it in when he birdied No. 13 to move to 20 under. Not even the 75-minute weather delay could slow him down much.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Viktor Hovland extends his lead to FIVE @TOURChamp! pic.twitter.com/XiHKzeYZ4C

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Just in time for football season, Viktor Hovland leads by a touchdown.

Ricky Bobby 🎯 @RickyBobbyBets

Viktor hovland is beating the breaks out of the field right now

A bogey on No. 14 halted Hovland’s momentum a bit but shouldn’t have much of an impact on the tournament as a whole. Prior to that, he was on pace for one of the most dominant 54-hole starts in years.

Justin Ray @JustinRayGolf

Viktor Hovland now leads by 6.

The largest 54-hole lead in Tour Championship history is 9 shots by Tom Lehman at Southern Hills in 1996. Scheffler led by 6 entering the final round last year.

Justin Ray @JustinRayGolf

Brooks Koepka at the 2019 PGA is the last player to lead by 7 or more through 54 holes on the PGA Tour.

Hovland currently up by 7.

After Hovland, his money manager might be the second-biggest winner from the weekend. Hovland collected $3.6 million for winning the BMC Championship, and now he’s 18 holes away from $18 million more.

That’s not too bad for somebody who hadn’t earned more than $8.6 million across an entire season prior to 2023.


Thank The Field for the Lack of Drama, Too

Hovland aside, here’s how the other nine golfers in the final five pairings performed Saturday:

  • Collin Morikawa: +3
  • Scottie Scheffler: +3
  • Keegan Bradley: E
  • Xander Schauffele: -2
  • Jon Rahm: +1
  • Rory McIlroy: +1
  • Wyndham Clark: -2
  • Tyrrell Hatton: +2
  • Matt Fitzpatrick: +1

As Hovland was enjoying another solid day, his stiffest competition was collectively wilting in the Atlanta heat. That’s how you wind up with what’s likely to be an anticlimactic final round.

Morikawa had the steepest fall. He was tied with Hovland through 36 holes after breaking the TOUR Championship’s record for lowest two-round score (125). Now, his focus is on maintaining a top-five finish.

A double bogey on No. 5 cost Morikawa valuable ground, and he opened his back nine with back-to-back bogeys.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Collin Morikawa finds trouble on the fifth hole @TOURChamp.

His first bogey of the tournament is a double and he moves into a share of second at 14-under. pic.twitter.com/nzelDE74aB

It was a similar story for Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm, neither of whom was terrible on the day but couldn’t rebound after early setbacks. For Scheffler, bogeys on the sixth and seventh holes put him well off the pace set by Hovland. Rahm had even less margin for error when he double-bogeyed the eighth hole.


Wyndham Clark Adding to Career Year

Wyndham Clark winning the TOUR Championship was a little too storybook to actually happen. The 2023 U.S. Open champion is nonetheless poised to end the FedEx Cup Playoffs on a reasonably high note.

Clark moved up three spots after going two under in the third round. He continues to show his effort at Los Angeles Country Club in June was no aberration, and that’s good news for the United States ahead of the Ryder Cup.

Golf on CBS ⛳ @GolfonCBS

“I’m hoping to finish strong today.”@Wyndham_Clark spoke with our @Amanda_Balionis during the weather delay at the @TOURChamp pic.twitter.com/PvlTiwNO9z

Especially for a player like Clark who isn’t a major star, every position on the TOUR Championship leaderboard counts. The difference between placing fifth and 10th is $2 million.

Should he secure another seven-figure payday, this will be a season the 29-year-old remembers for a long time.

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