Third-Round Notes – Saturday, June 10, 2017
Weather: Mostly sunny with a high of 88. Wind SSW 8-12 mph with gusts of 15 mph.
54-hole cut: With more than 78 players (86) making the 36-hole cut, a 54-hole cut took place Saturday, reducing the field to 71 players at 2-over 212 (low 70 and ties).
Rafa Cabrera Bello 70-66-65—201 (-9)
Stewart Cink 64-68-69—201 (-9)
Ben Crane 68-65-68—201 (-9)
Third-Round Leader Notes
Since moving to TPC Southwind in 1989, the third-round leader/co-leader of the FedEx St. Jude Classic has been able to convert for victory 15 times, including the last three champions. A year ago, Daniel Berger turned a three-shot lead into a three-stroke victory.
Through 29 stroke-play events on the PGA TOUR this season, 10 players have parlayed a 54-hole lead//co-lead into victory. Most recently, Kevin Chappell achieved this feat at the Valero Texas Open.
The last time three players were tied for the 54-hole lead at the FedEx St. Jude Classic was in 2012 when Davis Love III, John Merrick and Nick O’Hern were tied at 204. Dustin Johnson came back from T4 to win.
This marks the most players tied for the 54-hole lead on the PGA TOUR this season, and most since the 2015 Open Championship.
Rafa Cabrera Bello (-9)
With 27 and 25 putts taken in rounds one and two respectively, Rafa Cabera Bello needed just 23 putts to complete his third round, a 5-under 65 (tied for low round of the day with Scott Stallings and Tyrone Van Aswegen).
This marks just his second lead/co-lead after any round on the PGA TOUR. In his only other lead, he shared the top spot in the first round of the 2016 Wyndham Championship, where he went on to finish T5.
A four-time international winner, Cabrera Bello is in search of his first career win on the PGA TOUR. Last season, he collected five top-25 finishes in 10 starts on the PGA TOUR to earn a 2016-17 PGA TOUR card via the top 125 non-member list.
In 11 starts on TOUR this season, Cabrera Bello has two top-10s, highlighted by a T4 at THE PLAYERS Championship. He is No. 91 in the FedExCup standings as he looks to make it to the Playoffs for the first time in his career.
Cabrera Bello is making his first start in Memphis. Three of the last five winners won in their tournament debut: Daniel Berger (2016), Harris English (2013) and Dustin Johnson (2012).
Ten players have made the FedEx St. Jude Classic their maiden PGA TOUR victory, including four of the last six: Don Whitt (1959), Bob Lunn (1968), Larry Mize (1983), Mike Hulbert (1986), Jodi Mudd (1988), Dicky Pride (1994), Harrison Frazar (2011), Harris English (2013), Fabian Gomez (2015) and Daniel Berger (2017).
There have been eight first-time winners on the PGA TOUR this season: Cody Gribble (Sanderson Farms Championship), Mackenzie Hughes (The RSM Classic), Hudson Swafford (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jon Rahm (Farmers Insurance Open), Adam Hadwin (Valspar Championship), Wesley Bryan (RBC Heritage), Kevin Chappell (Valero Texas Open) and Cameron Smith (Zurich Classic of New Orleans).
Cabrera Bello is a native of Spain. In the 60-year history of the event, only five international players have won the FedEx St. Jude Classic: Gary Player (1974), Nick Price (1993, 1998), Greg Norman (1997), Lee Westwood (2010) and Fabian Gomez (Argentina).
Cabrera Bello represented Spain when golf returned to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He finished T5 in the 60-man field. Yesterday, the IOC announced that golf would be one of the sports included in the 2024 Olympics. Initially, golf had only be guaranteed a spot in the Olympics in 2016, and in 2020 in Tokyo.
With a win this week, Cabrera Bello would be the third Spaniard to win on the PGA TOUR this season, joining Jon Rahm (Farmers Insurance Open) and Sergio Garcia (Masters).
Next week, Cabrera Bello will play in his fourth U.S. Open.
Stewart Cink (-9)
Stewart Cink, the first-round co-leader who started the third round one shot off the lead, posted a 1-under 69 in the third round to take his 12th 54-hole lead/co-lead. He most recently co-led after 54 holes at the 2013 Shell Houston Open (T6).
On Sunday, Cink will be 44 years, 21 days. There have been 10 winners of the FedEx St. Jude Classic over the age of 40, but not since Woody Austin in 2007, the second-oldest winner in event history.
Four players in their 40s have won on TOUR this season, including last week’s winner Jason Dufner, who won at 40 years, 11 days. The last time players in their 40s won in consecutive starts was in 2015-16 when Greg Chalmers (Barracuda Championship) and Henrik Stenson (The Open Championship) won back-to-back.
Cink is in search of his seventh career PGA TOUR title in his 533rd start on TOUR. His last win came at the 2009 Open Championship, his lone major title.
Following a T25 at the Memorial Tournament, Cink successfully qualified for his 20th U.S. Open (and first since 2014) at the sectional qualifier in Columbus, Ohio this past Monday.
Cink is making his ninth start in the FedEx St. Jude Classic where a T5 in 2004 is his best showing.
This season, Cink has made 18 starts and has two top-10s: The RSM Classic (T10) and the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational (T10). He is currently using his one-time exemption from the top 25 in career money, but sits at No. 60 in the FedExCup standings.
Earlier this season, Cink fired his career-low, 18-hole score on the PGA TOUR, an 8-under 62 on the Seaside Course in the first round of The RSM Classic.
Last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic marked Cink’s second start back after taking time off to be with his wife Lisa who was diagnosed with breast cancer in spring of 2016. At the 2016 event, St. Jude patients drew pictures and made get-well cards specifically for Lisa. A year later, Lisa still receives treatment, but is now in what doctors deem “sustained remission.”
Ben Crane (-9)
2014 FedEx St. Jude Classic winner Ben Crane carded a bogey-free 68 to enter a three-way tie at 9-under 201. This marks Crane’s third 54-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA TOUR. The last time he held a 54-hole lead was when he went on to win the 2014 FedEx St. Jude Classic wire-to-wire.
Crane is looking to become sixth multiple winner of the FedEx St Jude Classic.
4 Dave Hill (1967, 1969, 1970, 1973)
3 Lee Trevino (1971, 1972, 1980)
2 Nick Price (1993, 1998)
David Toms (2003, 2004)
Justin Leonard (2005, 2008)
Crane has five PGA TOUR victories with his last being the 2014 FedEx St. Jude Classic. Other victories include: 2003 BellSouth Classic. 2005 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. 2010 Farmers Insurance Open. 2011 The McGladrey Classic.
Crane is making his 12th start in the FedEx St. Jude Classic where he has five top-25s. He is the last player to win on TOUR without recording a birdie in the final round. The last two occurrences actually happened at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Prior to Crane in 2014, Justin Leonard won without a birdie in the final round in 2005.
Crane is not in the field for next week’s U.S. Open and a win tomorrow will not guarantee a spot. The only way a player can get into the field is by moving into the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking upon conclusion of the tournament.
On TOUR this season, Crane has 18 previous starts, where he has 12 made cuts and two top-25s. He is currently No. 161 in the FedExCup standings as he looks to get back to the TOUR Championship for the second time in his career (2010).
Crane is one of six past champions in the field. Here’s how they fared through 54 holes: 2016 Daniel Berger (T9), 2015 Fabian Gomez (T13), 2014 Ben Crane (T1), 2013 Harris English (T45), 2009 Brian Gay (MC) and 2001 Bob Estes (MC).
Making his seventh start in the FedEx St. Jude Classic, Phil Mickelson followed 3-under-par 67 on Friday with a 1-under 69. For the second straight day, he finished his round with a double bogey.
Mickelson is the most under-par player at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in the last five years.
Most Under Par at FedEx St. Jude Classic since 2013
Since the 2013 FedEx St. Jude Classic, Mickelson has two runner-ups (2013 and 2016), a T3 (2015) and T11 (2014).
The 42-PGA TOUR winner is in search of his first win since 2013 (Waste Management Phoenix Open, The Open Championship).
Additional Player Notes
Defending champion Daniel Berger posted his lowest round of the week, a 4-under 66 to move three shots off the lead. Since the event’s inception in 1958, only three players have been able to successfully defend their title, Dave Hill (1969-70), Lee Trevino (1971-72) and David Toms (2003-04). Toms is the only player to successfully defend since the event moved to TPC Southwind in 1989.
A week after he was named the NCAA Individual Champion, Ole Miss golfer Braden Thornberry made his PGA TOUR debut as an amateur at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, just 15 minutes from his hometown of Olive Branch, Miss. With a third-round 3-under 67, Thornberry is T32. The best finish by an amateur at the FedEx St. Jude Classic is Mason Rudolph in 1958, who finished third.
R1: Chad Campbell (68), Matt Every (64), Whee Kim (69), Sebastian Munoz (64).
R2: Stewart Cink (68), Joel Dahman (66), Julian Etulain (67), Bobby Gates (66), Chez Reavie (65).
R3: Ben Crane (68), Scott Stallings (65).
Scoring Averages at the par-70 TPC Southwind
Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative
Thursday 35.417 35.821 71.237 —
Friday 34.992 35.039 69.961 70.599
Saturday 35.244 35.442 70.686 70.6