19 January 2020: In a bit of a pickle at the start of the third round, Anirban Lahiri dug deep, found iron and cast his way into the Sunday round of The American Express at La Quinta Country Club. The Indian shot seven birdies in a brilliant 66 to work his way inside the cut line, which saw 74 golfers reach Sunday from a field of 155, with the blade falling at 9-under. Rookie Scottie Scheffler inched closer to a maiden victory with a 66 while Andrew Landry worked his way into a share of the lead with a 65 on Saturday.
Rickie Fowler slipped into second after managing only a 70 in the third round. At 17-under he is four adrift of the leaders and one in front of Ryan Moore and Chase Seiffert.
Lahiri improved upon his approach game on Saturday, reaching 83% greens in regulation well above his work during the first two rounds that yielded him 70s. Starting off the tenth tee, he got off to a fiery string of three straight birdies from the 11th hole. The La Quinta course threatened to steal his momentum when it pinched a bogey off the Indian at the par-4 17th where Lahiri needed three strokes from the fringe.
But the 32-year-old played with old school resilience, as he marched steadfastly inside the cut line with four birdies on the return stretch to end the day in T43.
The week has been a big turnaround for Landry, who has missed seven cuts in eight starts this season. He can draw from the memories of his success at the Texas Open in 2018 when he converted a third round lead into his only victory so far. Landry was The American Express runner-up in 2018 when he lost on the fourth playoff to Jon Rahm. The 32-year-old missed the cut at all his events except the Safeway Open, where he finished in T23.
With scores of 65, 64 and 66 this week, Scheffler, who already has three top tens in seven starts is looking to seal his status as the pre-eminent rookie on the PGA TOUR. Scheffler came through this season by topping both the 2019 Korn Ferry Finals list as well as the overall points list to earn full status on the PGA TOUR.
Fowler could not find the form that yielded him 65 and 64 in the first two rounds. He made bogeys at the 4th and 7th holes on the Stadium Course before working his way back to a 70 with the help of four birdies.
John Huh made a hole in one at the 12th hole of the La Quinta course, firing a 5-iron from 202 yards, the second of his career. His first professional hole in one came at the 2014 Mayakoba Golf Classic.
The low rounds of the day belonged to Max Homa, who is T9 and Harry Higgs, both men shooting 63 on Saturday. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for Higgs to reach Sunday, as he missed the cut at 7-under through 54 holes.
R1 (18): Zac Blair (64/LQ), Cameron Davis (66/NT), Jason Dufner (67/SC), Lucas Glover (67/NT), Brian Harman (67/LQ), Beau Hossler (71/LQ), John Huh (67/NT), Sungjae Im (67/LQ), Andrew Landry (66/SC), Hank Lebioda (65/NT), Ryan Moore (68/LQ), Seung-Yul Noh (69/LQ), Scottie Scheffler (65/LQ), Adam Schenk (66/NT), Chase Seiffert (66/SC), Scott Stallings (67/NT), Brendon Todd (69/NT), Matthew Wolff (67/LQ)
R2 (17): Abraham Ancer (67/NT), Ryan Brehm (67/LQ), Paul Casey (67/NT), Bud Cauley (64/NT), Harris English (68/SC), Tony Finau (62/NT), Rickie Fowler (64/NT), Michael Gligic (65/SC), Brandon Hagy (63/LQ), Brian Harman (67/NT), Scott Harrington (69/LQ), Troy Merritt (68/LQ), Alex Noren (67/SC), Cameron Percy (66/LQ), Wes Roach(65/NT), Sepp Straka (65/SC), Tim Wilkinson (65/NT)
R3 (20): Lucus Bjerregaard (66/LQ), Paul Casey (67/SC), Cameron Champ (68/LQ), Wyndham Clark (70/SC), Tyler Duncan (67/LQ), Michael Gellerman (66/LQ), David Hearn (65/SC), Tom Hoge (66/NT), Max Homa (63/NT), Martin Laird (69/NT), Sebastian Muñoz (68/LQ), Seung-Yul Noh (69/SC), Chez Reavie (67/NT), Wes Roach (69/SC), Rory Sabbatini (67/LQ), Scottie Scheffler (66/SC), Brendan Steele (67/SC), Sepp Straka (68/LQ), Harold Varner III (68/SC), Vincent Whaley (67/LQ)