Weather: Mostly cloudy and breezy with a high of 82. Wind SE 15-25 mph. Due to expected inclement weather on Sunday, final-round tee times will feature threesomes off split tees from 7:15 to 9:05 a.m.
54-Hole Cut: 70 players at 3-over 219.
Sung Kang 65-63-71—199 (-17)
Rickie Fowler 64-71-67—202 (-14)
Russell Henley 67-67-69—203 (-13)
Luke List 68-71-68—204 (-12)
A day after a course-record tying 63, Sung Kang made three bogeys and four birdies for a 1-under 71. After making 103’ 4” and 196’8” feet of putts in the first and second rounds respectively, Kang made 86’ 7” feet of putts in the third round, needing 31 putts to complete the round.
Kang’s 199 (-17) total ties the tournament course low 54 set by Louis Oosthuizen in 2012.
Kang is in search of his first victory on the PGA TOUR in his 95th career start. With a win, Kang would become the season’s sixth first-time winner, joining Cody Gribble (Sanderson Farms Championship), Mackenzie Hughes (The RSM Classic), Hudson Swafford (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jon Rahm (Farmers Insurance Open) and Adam Hadwin (Valspar Championship).
With a victory this week, Kang would become the third first-time winner in the last four years of the Shell Houston Open.
Kang is not already exempt for next week’s Masters. With a win, Kang would receive the last “win and you’re in” invitation to the Masters Tournament. He has competed in two majors in his career (2011 U.S. Open – T39, 2016 – U.S. Open – T18).
Kang has never held a lead/co-lead going into a final round on the PGA TOUR. This marks just the fourth time he has held a lead/co-lead after any round on TOUR.
Kang’s best finish on TOUR is a T3 at the 2011 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
A win from Kang, who will be 29 years, 9 months, 29 days on Sunday, would mark the 13th win by a player in his 20s on TOUR this season and first since Adam Hadwin at the Valspar Championship
Kang’s statistics through three rounds:
R1: 12 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens, 27 putts, 3 of 3 sand saves
R2: 9 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens, 25 putts, 3 of 3 sand saves
R3: 10 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens, 31 putts, 0 of 2 sand saves
Since the Shell Houston Open moved to the Golf Club of Houston in 2006, international-born players have won four times, including Stuart Appleby (2006), Adam Scott (2007), Paul Casey (2009) and Matt Jones (2014).
This marks Kang’s 15th start of the season where a T12 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open is his best finish. He is coming off a T49 in the Puerto Rico Open and his currently No. 104 in the FedExCup standings.
Kang is making his third start in the Shell Houston Open: 2012/MC and 2016/69th.
After two top-10s and four top-25s in the 2015-16 season, Kang advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs for the first time in his career. Before Kang ended his season at No. 96 in the standings with a missed cut at the Dell Technologies Championship, he closed with a course-record 64 at Bethpage Black during THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first event of the Playoffs.
Kang is originally from Seoul, South Korea and resides in Dallas, Texas. He works with swing instructor George Gankas in Los Angeles, Calif.
Third-Round Lead Statistics
Eight third-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win during the 2016-17 Season, most recently
Adam Hadwin at the Valspar Championship.
Since the Shell Houston Open moved to the Tournament Course in 2006, six third-round leaders/co-leaders have parlayed that position into a win: Phil Mickelson (2011), Anthony Kim (2010), Paul Casey (2009), Johnson Wagner (2008), Stuart Appleby (2006) and Jim Herman (2016).
With eight birdies through No. 14, Rickie Fowler tied the lead with Sung Kang at 17-under. His first bogey came at 17, and then he 4-putted No. 18 for a double bogey to drop three shots over his final two holes. He will begin the final round three shots off the lead. In the last two rounds, Fowler played the first 14 holes at 12-under and holes 15-18 at 6-over.
Fowler is in search of his fifth career PGA TOUR victory and his second of the season. In three of his four victories, Fowler came from behind to win. Here’s a look at his 54-hole positions en route to victory.
2012 Wells Fargo Championship*
T6 – 3 shots back
2015 PLAYERS Championship*
T11 – 3 shots back
2015 Dell Technologies Championship 2 – 1 shot back
2017 Honda Classic
1 – led by 4
*won via playoff
The 2017 Honda Classic in February was the first of five 54-hole leads Fowler converted for victory.
Fowler leads the field with a total 22 birdies, which is tied for the most through three rounds at the Golf Club of Houston (Bubba Watson/2007).
Fowler’s 22 birdies through three rounds is also the most of his career. His previous high was 19 through 54 holes at the 2012 PLAYERS Championship.
Fowler recorded eight birdies in the third round, tying the most of his career. Fowler has recorded eight birdies in a round 14 times on the PGA TOUR (twice this week). He has never reached nine or more.
With a win, Fowler would become the season’s fourth multiple winner joining Justin Thomas (3), Dustin Johnson (3) and Hideki Matsuyama (2).
With a win, this would mark Fowler’s second multiple-win season. He won THE PLAYERS Championship and Dell Technologies Championship in 2015.
Fowler, who has made the cut in every appearance in the Shell Houston Open, has struggled on the weekend. In five previous starts, Fowler boasts a 69.8 scoring average in the first two rounds compared to a 73.4 average on the weekend. His third-round scoring average at the GC of Houston in 73.00 (not including 2017).
Fowler First 2 Rounds vs. Last 2 Rounds
Rounds Par or Better
Birdies or Better
Bogeys or Worse
Score to Par
Fowler is making his sixth start at the Shell Houston Open where he owns two top-10s: 2014/6th and 2016/T10. Despite two top-10s, Fowler has never broken 70 in a final round in the Shell Houston Open. His best was a 70 en route to his T10 in 2016.
Fowler ranks first in Scrambling and Sand Saves this season. This week he is 5/7 Sand Saves and 8/12 Scrambling.
Fowler is currently 10th in the FedExCup, his best rank through the first 18 weeks on the PGA TOUR. In six starts on the PGA TOUR this season, Fowler has three top-10s including his fourth career PGA TOUR win at The Honda Classic.
Thursday’s 64 marked Fowler’s best start this season and his lowest opening round, in relation to par, on the PGA TOUR. His previous-low opening round was a 7-under 63 at the 2011 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational.
Additional player notes
Luke List posted the best round of the day, a 7-under 65, hitting 15 of 18 fairways. In his only made cut in two previous starts, List finished T27 in 2016. He missed the cut in 2013.
With rounds of 67-67-69, Russell Henley’s last 12 consecutive rounds at the Golf Club of Houston have been under par. He has finished in the top 10 the last three years: 2014/T7, 2015/4, 2016/T5.
There are 17 players qualified for next week’s Masters who remain in the Shell Houston Open field: Daniel Berger, Angel Cabrera, Kevin Chappell, Jason Dufner, Rickie Fowler, James Hahn, Charley Hoffman, Mackenzie Hughes, Phil Mickelson, Sean O’Hair, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Andy Sullivan, Hudson Swafford, Jhonattan Vegas, Bernd Wiesberger and Chris Wood.
Four players have won the week prior to the Masters Tournament and then gone on to win in Augusta – Ralph Guldahl (Wyndham Championship) in 1939, Art Wall (Azalea Open) in 1959, Sandy Lyle (Wyndham Championship) in 1988 and Phil Mickelson (BellSouth Classic) in 2006. Additionally, Sam Snead won the 1949 Wyndham Championship and the Masters, the TOUR’s next official event, with one week of separation between the two events.
Four of the 10 former Shell Houston Open winners who were in the field made it to the final round:
Matt Jones (2014) T39
D.A. Points (2013) T26
Phil Mickelson (2011) T61
Johnson Wagner (2008) T54
R1: Aaron Baddeley (68), Stewart Cink (66), Rickie Fowler (64), Robert Garrigus (68), Tom Hoge (67), Luke List (68), Bryce Molder (68), Adam Scott (68), Jhonattan Vegas (66).
R2: Sung Kang (63), Robert Streb (65), Zac Blair (67), Aaron Baddeley (68), Fabian Gomez (69).
R3: Michael Thompson (69).
Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative
R1 36.063 35.194 71.257
R2 35.979 36.746 72.725 71.991
R2 35.979 36.746 72.725 71.991
R3 36.975 36.469 73.444 72.476
The most difficult hole in round two was the par-4 5th (4.395), with the easiest being the par-5 8th (4.765).
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