10 things to know from Round 3 of the 2020 PGA Championship
1. Thanks to a scorching-hot putter, Dustin Johnson holds a one-shot lead entering the final round of the PGA Championship. Johnson gained 4.93 strokes putting in the third round, his best single-round performance in any PGA Tour event in more than ten years. Through three days, DJ is on pace for his most strokes gained putting in a 72-hole event in his entire career.
2. This is the fourth time Johnson has held the 54-hole lead or co-lead in a major championship – he did not break par in the final round or go on to win any of the previous three instances. Each of his previous three opportunities came in the U.S. Open – in 2010 at Pebble Beach, 2015 at Chambers Bay and 2018 at Shinnecock.
3. The pack close behind DJ is voluminous: there are 17 players at or within four strokes of the lead entering Sunday, the most going into the final round of the PGA Championship since there were 18 in 1993. Each of the last 25 major champions were within four of the lead entering the final round. Consider this, too – no player has been outside the top-ten entering the final round of a major and won since Paul Lawrie at the 1999 Open Championship.
4. Just two shots off the lead, Brooks Koepka is trying to become the first player to ‘three-peat’ in a major since Peter Thomson at The Open in the mid-1950s. Koepka either led or was one shot back entering the final round in all four of his prior major wins. His lone PGA Tour title when trailing by two strokes or more was at the 2015 Phoenix Open, when he was three back.
5. Since 2015, Koepka has a final round scoring average in major championships of 69.5, second-best of any player during that span with at least ten rounds (Rory McIlroy is first, at 69.0). Should Brooks win his fifth major tomorrow, he would be the fourth-youngest player in men’s professional golf history to achieve the feat, behind only Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Jones.
6. Scottie Scheffler, who has not yet won a PGA Tour event, is just one back. The last American player to earn his first PGA Tour victory in a major championship was Shaun Micheel at the 2003 PGA. Cameron Champ joins him at eight-under; Champ leads the field in both driving distance and strokes gained off the tee through three rounds. Champ is playing in just his third career major championship and his first PGA.
7. Playing in just his second major, Collin Morikawa birdied three of his last four holes to climb to 7-under for the tournament, winding up two back of Johnson. If Morikawa wins, he would get to his first major victory in the fewest starts (two) of any player since Keegan Bradley won his major debut at the 2011 PGA.
8. Paul Casey is also just two back, the closest he has been to the leader entering the final round of a major in more than 16 years. Amazingly, Casey last was at or within two of the lead entering Sunday at a major championship at the 2004 Masters, where he finished tied for sixth. Casey has the most starts of any player in the majors without a win (64) since his debut in 2002.
9. Bryson DeChambeau made a 95-foot putt on the final hole to finish at six-under, putting him in his best career 54-hole position in a major. DeChambeau has never finished better than 15th in a major previously, but could be lifting the Wanamaker Trophy Sunday evening: Bryson leads the PGA Tour this season in final round scoring average.
10. Holes eight and nine at TPC Harding Park continue to put a painful exclamation point on the front side. Through three rounds, the field is a combined two-over on holes 1-7. They are 269-over-par on holes eight and nine.