Recap of the day
Morning wave: Continuing his big move through the field, Emiliano Grillo followed rounds of 72 and 67 with a 64 to leap 25 spots up the live leaderboard to T4 on -10. With the leaders still on the front nine, last week’s winner Bryson DeChambeau advanced the clubhouse target to 12-under, finishing with a walk-off eagle for a career-tying-low 63. As he swapped cards with playing partner Tiger Woods (68 for 7-under), the Northern Trust champ was just one off the pace.
Afternoon wave: With none of the leaders able to go low, DeChambeau ended the day still one back. The lead was taken by Mexican Abraham Ancer, who roared to the turn in 30 before signing for a 65 to post 13-under 200. Tyrrell Hatton sprinkled his card with six birdies but also swallowed a double and two bogeys. His eagle chip at 18 had a look in the hole but sucked back although he did stroke home the birdie putt for a 69 and a share of second. Halfway leader Webb Simpson ballooned to a 76 to drop 24 spots.
Notables: -8 Tommy Fleetwood, -7 Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods, -6 Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Hideki Matsuyama, -5 Paul Casey, -4 Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, -3 Jon Rahm, -2 Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, -1 Justin Thomas.
Revised outright betting: 3/1 DeChambeau, 4/1 Rose, 5/1 Ancer, Hatton, 11/1 Smith, 14/1 McIlroy, 16/1 Spieth, 25/1 Stanley, Finau, 28/1 Grillo.
Monday weather forecast
Temperatures and humidity take a jump in round four, peaking at 89 degrees at 3pm. Once more, there’s a gentle 6-8mph breeze.
Leaders after 54 holes
Abraham Ancer (65, 200) – Three birdies out of the gate and three more to the turn in an outward 6-under. Kept it steady after that. Missed just one green today and fantastic stats for the week: T1 birdies, 2nd SG: Off-The-Tee, 3rd SG: Approach, 2nd Putts Per GIR.
Bryson DeChambeau (63, 201) – A birdie-birdie-eagle finish turned a very good day into a brilliant day. Pelted 17 greens in regulation today and ranks third in Strokes Gained: Putting for the week. Back-to-back wins have been done on five previous occasions in the FedExCup play-offs so why not a sixth?
Tyrrell Hatton (63, 132) – A rollercoaster of emotion today as he witnessed good breaks and bad. Don’t be alarmed though, that’s just him. Short game hot so far – 2nd SG: Around-The-Green and 9th SG: Putting.
Fate of the favorites
Rory McIlroy (66, 204) – Smashed his putter with his hand when missing for birdie at 18 before tossing it aside (putter not his hand). Rory was 6-under after 13 and felt he threw away the really low one that would have put him right up there although now only four back. Hit 11 fairways and 14 greens. 9-under last two days.
Brooks Koepka (68, 206) – A third straight round in the 60s but needed a 65 to really get in the mix. Four-under after 12 but back-to-back bogeys at 13 and 14 stopped the momentum. Walked off ranked 72nd for Strokes Gained: Putting.
Dustin Johnson (72, 209) – Suffering a little with ‘flu picked up from his young son, DJ was off the pace, shooting 72. The damage was done from Nos. 8-12 which he played in 4-over via two bogeys and a double. Putting getting worse as the week goes on.
Justin Thomas (70, 212) – Seems to be marking time until next week. Still not doing anything particularly well although he did find 10 fairways at least.
Abraham Ancer (65, 200): “Fun round. Played really solid, obviously on my front nine (30), pretty much in control of my golf ball, hit some nice putts. Hit the ball good, just didn’t make any putts coming in but other than that, solid round.”
Bryson DeChambeau (63, 201): “It was awesome. I felt like I was just in the zone all day and executing great shots besides a little blip on 15. I played really well.”
Paul Casey (69, 208): “Much better today, ball-striking was better. Actually, everything was better. Some frustrating holes in there, a couple of errors but going in the right direction. Positive. Trending.”
Road to victory at TPC Boston
2017 Justin Thomas – R1: 30th, R2: 15th, R3: 1st
2016 Rory McIlroy – R1: 67th, R2: 30th, R3: 7th
2015 Rickie Fowler – R1: 2nd, R2: 3rd, R3: 2nd
2014 Chris Kirk – R1: 65th, R2: 17th, R3: 3rd
2013 Henrik Stenson – R1: 23rd, R2: 2nd, R3: 2nd
Notes: We said yesterday there was a decent chance that the winner was still hiding in the pack given how plenty of past champions had played the first 36 holes fairly modestly. Bryson DeChambeau (T21 at the midpoint) and Emiliano Grillo (T29) could now add to that trend. After 54 holes, the eventual trophy holder is much easier to locate, with just two players winning from outside the top four since the tournament started in 2003. One of those was Rory, who is T8 this time.
Fate of the 54 leaders at TPC Boston – where did they finish?
2016 Paul Casey – 2nd
2015 Henrik Stenson – 2nd
2014 Russell Henley – 2nd
2013 Sergio Garcia – 4th
Notes: Having the 54-hole lead usually secures a top-four finish and, since 2010, Bubba is the only R3 pacesetter not to finish in the leading quartet. That said, the only third-round leaders to convert since 2003 were Steve Stricker in 2009 and Justin Thomas last year. Ancer has some history to overcome.
Focus on – The FedExCup
Only the top 70 in the rankings will progress to the BMW Championship. Current projected rankings and movements are listed below:
Projected Top 5
On the up - moved from outside to inside the top 70 today
Abraham Ancer – 92nd to projected 5th
Tyrrell Hatton – 71st to projected 15th
Brice Garnett – 81st to projected 63rd
Matt Kuchar – 74th to projected 62nd
Keith Mitchell – 78th to projected 64th
C.T. Pan – 72nd to projected 60th
J.B. Holmes – 80th to projected 67th
Going down - moved from inside to outside the top 70 today
Louis Oosthuizen – 69th to projected 74th
Jason Kokrak – 66th to projected 75th
Nick Watney – 67th to projected 76th
Ted Potter, Jr. – 62nd to projected 71st
Jimmy Walker – 68th to projected 77th
Whee Kim – 61st to projected 72nd
On the number
Ryan Moore – projected 70th
Focus on – Abraham Ancer
Leading an event of this magnitude is obviously new territory for the young Mexican although recent history says today’s move wasn’t a surprise. Ancer’s last four third-round scores before today’s 65 were 64, 65, 69 and 62. The latter gave him a piece of the 54-hole lead at the Quicken Loans a couple of months ago although, on that occasion, a 72 left the 27-year-old tied fourth. An early sign of him being a player to watch on Moving Day came on the Web.com last year when a Saturday 64 secured the third-round lead at the Portland Open. There, he closed with 69 to finish runner-up. So far in his short career, we know that Ancer has the answers in round three. Now the hard part, doing it from a strong position in round four and trying to become the first Mexican to win a PGA Tour event since 1974.