Byeong Hun An retains a one-stroke lead in Wyndham Championship

Anirban Lahiri shot a 68 in the third round of the Wyndham Championship. Byeong Hun An remained in the lead with scores of 62, 65 & 66

Byeong Hun An - Wyndham Championship - PGA TOUR

PGA TOUR Report, 04 August 2019: Bogey free through 49 holes, Anirban Lahiri shot another brilliant round in the Wyndham Championship. The Indian shot a 68 to add to his 67s on Thursday and Friday to remain in T38. Lahiri hit 13 of 18 greens in regulation during his third round at the Wyndham Championship, moving to 8 under through 54 holes. Lahiri finished his day tied for 38th at 8 under; Byeong Hun An is in the lead at 17 under; Brice Garnett and Webb Simpson are tied for 2nd at 16 under; and Ryan Armour is in 4th at 15 under.

After a drive to the left side of the fairway on the 418-yard par-4 first hole, Lahiri had a 144 yard approach shot, setting himself up for the birdie. This moved Lahiri to 1 under for the round.

At the 174-yard par-3 third, Lahiri hit a tee shot 170 yards at the green, setting himself up for the 20-foot putt for birdie. This moved Lahiri to 2 under for the round.

On the par-4 13th, Lahiri’s 114 yard approach to 11 feet set himself up for the birdie on the hole. This moved Lahiri to 3 under for the round.

On the 501-yard par-4 14th, Lahiri had a bogey after hitting the green in 3 and two putting, moving Lahiri to 2 under for the round.

After a 304 yard drive on the 545-yard par-5 15th, Lahiri chipped his third shot to 4 feet, which he rolled for one-putt birdie on the hole. This moved Lahiri to 3 under for the round.

At the 406-yard par-4 17th, Lahiri got on in 2 and missed his par putt from 4 feet, finishing with a 3-putt bogey. This moved Lahiri to 2 under for the round.

Byeong Hun An shot a third-round 66 to keep his lead at the Wyndham Championship and his next bogey will be his first, but hang on, this is far from over.

Consider just how precarious that lead is:

  • Webb Simpson, who ran away with THE PLAYERS Championship last year and won the 2011 Wyndham, is just a shot back. So is Brice Garnett (66), who also knows how to win, having captured the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship last season.
  • An has not won on the PGA TOUR, but lost in playoffs at the 2018 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and the 2016 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
  • Sedgefield Country Club has already yielded a 61 this week (and a 59 last year).
  • Paul Casey (66), the highest-ranking player here at eighth in the FedExCup, is three back. 
  • So is Viktor Hovland (64), the highly touted new pro out of Oklahoma State.

What do we make of all that? Well, only that Sunday could be wild, especially given how many players will be competing not just for the trophy, but also for their livelihoods.

“It’s got an old Q School feel,” said Ryan Armour (65), who came into this week at 117th in the FedExCup, just inside the top-125 cutoff to make the first stop of the FedExCup Playoffs, THE NORTHERN TRUST at Liberty National next week.

He’s one of the lucky ones. His victory at the Sanderson Farms Championship last season gives him full playing privileges through next season regardless of what happens Sunday.

Ditto for Garnett. He’s a precarious 121st in the FedExCup, meaning his spot in the upcoming Playoffs isn’t secure, but his 2018 Puntacana win wrapped up his TOUR card through 2020.

“With the win exemption,” Garnett said, “I’m just trying to play to win the golf tournament.”

So is An, a 27-year-old pro from South Korea who attended Cal-Berkeley. At 82nd in the FedExCup starting the week, he was in no danger of missing THE NORTHERN TRUST.

But his slim lead at Sedgefield? That’s dangerous. “One shot is basically nothing,” An said. “Like today, Brice made birdie at the first and I made par, and that’s one shot right there.”

An would be the 14th first-time winner this season, and would climb to FedExCup No. 27, giving him a clear path into the 30-man field at the season-ending TOUR Championship. Also, should he win and keep a clean card, he would be the first since Lee Trevino (1974 Greater New Orleans Open) to win an individual TOUR event without making a bogey over 72 holes.

“Just keep my head up and my confidence pretty high,” An said of his plan for Sunday. “I’ve been hitting it pretty good, so need to not make any silly mistakes. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Instead of playing with Garnett, as he did Saturday, An will be joined by Simpson in the final group Sunday, as Simpson was the first player to finish at 16 under. That could be important, as Simpson is more seasoned (five TOUR wins, including THE PLAYERS and 2012 U.S. Open) and knows what it takes to win the Wyndham. He shot 18 under to do so in ’11.

“There’s something special about your first win,” he said. “Something special about Greensboro for me. I’ve been talking about it all week, the support’s been fantastic. There’s a lot of reasons I want to win, but I got a lot of work to do, especially with how many guys are within a few of the lead.”

Casey, who has won the Valspar Championship the last two years running, is 14 under and three back. A win would move him from eighth to fourth in the Wyndham Rewards bonus pool, but he knows it will take something better than the 66 he produced Saturday.

“My goal was five (under) a day,” Casey said. “So, I’ve slipped behind that schedule, but I don’t think it’s going to be low enough. Scoring is so good. The leaderboard is stacked with older guys like myself and younger guys – Viktor’s up there, I see. I actually haven’t studied the leaderboard thoroughly, but it’s going to be good. Looking forward to it.”