May 19, 2024

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Bryson DeChambeau’s chip with his 56-degree wedge found the perfect line, and when it rolled in for eagle on his final shot Saturday, he dropped to one knee and punched the air.The celebration on Sunday will be even bigger if he can chase down the leaders at the PGA Championship and win his second major.The Crushers GC captain put himself in prime lurking position with a 4-under 67 in the third round at Valhalla. Now at 13 under, he’s tied for fourth, just two shots off the lead shared by Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele.“Exhilarating,” DeChambeau said about his final shot. “I haven’t felt like that in a long time. The only other time I felt like it was when I shot 58 at Greenbrier [last season on LIV Golf]. That was pretty exciting there. I was pretty pumped.”Finishing his round with the eagle might be just the momentum boost he needs going into a final round that promises to be a shootout, with 15 players within five shots of the lead. That includes fellow LIV Golf member Dean Burmester, who’s at 11 under after a third-round 68. It may take a super-low score to win, and DeChambeau is certainly capable of it, having shot 61-58 on the weekend last year at Greenbrier to win for the first time on LIV Golf.Valhalla, meanwhile, certainly is capable of giving up a low score. Schauffele opened with a major record-tying 9-under 62 on Thursday, and Shane Lowry matched that score on Saturday to move into a tie with DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland. Sahith Theegala, who shot a 67 on Saturday, is solo third at 14 under.DeChambeau has shot in the 60s in the first three rounds this week – the first time he’s done that in a major – but he still hasn’t reached his maximum level. He’s gained at least 1.2 strokes on the field with his driving, putting and around the green, but is just 0.374 with his approaches.“I’m not executing to the level that I know I can but playing well enough to give myself a chance, obviously,” DeChambeau said. “Got to keep strategizing around this golf course and putting the golf ball in the right areas and miss it in the right place and hit a bunch of greens out here. It’s iron play. The key is iron play this week and haven’t done my best but got up-and-down nicely.”He hasn’t produced a round of steady fireworks like Schauffele or Lowry, but he has avoided big numbers. He’s suffered just one bogey in each of the first three rounds, and he did well on Saturday to avoid a double after getting into trouble on the par-4 sixth.He found the rough with his tee shot and second shot, and then had a tricky shot behind the tree on his third. He tried to curve a wedge onto the green, but the ball bounced into the rough. He managed to get up-and-down, making an 8-foot putt for bogey.“I was very happy to come out of it with a bogey,” DeChambeau said. “When I saw that lie on the second shot, I’m like, dang, I’ve got to get lucky here to make par. “That was my whole goal is if I could stay bogey-free and make a few birdies and take care of the par 5s, you’re going to give yourself a good chance out here. I’ve just got to do more of that tomorrow.”BURMESTER’S LONG DAYSince he was one of 17 players unable to finish his second round due to darkness, Dean Burmester had to wake up very early Saturday to complete his final two holes.After warming up then getting to the 17th tee box, he and the other players were called off when fog delayed play. He went back to the clubhouse for more than two hours, then had 15 minutes to warm up and return to the tee box for the re-start.After a par at 17, Burmester eagled to 18th thanks to a 7-wood on his second shot that finished inside 3 feet. That completed his 6-under 65. He then followed with a third-round 3-under 68 that left him in solo ninth at 11 under.“I’m tired now,” he said afterwards.It’s worth it. The Stinger GC star has never been in this high of a position entering the final round in any of his previous seven major starts. At four shots off the lead, he knows it will take a low score to have any chance of catching the leaders.But at least the opportunity is there.“If I get in a mix, that’s awesome,” said Burmester, who won for the first time on LIV Golf earlier this year in Miami. “Obviously it’s super special. These are the tournaments everyone wants to win. One of these four, you’re etched in history forever.”So that’s why I’m here. Obviously I teed up because I think I can win, so to be (four shots) back tomorrow is super cool, and I’m just excited to have that chance.”If he can get more out of his final round than he did in the third round, he’ll have an even better chance. Burmester was excellent tee-to-green on Saturday – in fact, he ranks third in the field this week in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – but multiple putts came up just short. He’s given up nearly a half-stroke to the field on the greens.“The greens just feel quicker than they are,” he said. “So yeah, that’s what I’ll be doing this afternoon, calibrating some speed and hopefully I’ll get it right tomorrow.”And if it does? It wouldn’t be the first time the PGA Championship has gone to an unexpected champion“Who knows what can happen?” he said. “Maybe I can be a Rich Beem or Shaun Micheel of the world.”RD. 3 NOTESHERBERT’S INCENTIVES: It may taken a Herculean effort for Lucas Herbert to pressure the leaders, given that he’s six shots back, but the Ripper GC’s youngest player has plenty of other incentives to chase.For instance, the top 15 and ties will earn a spot in next year’s PGA Championship. Herbert is currently tied for 16th. Also, the higher he finishes, the more his status could be enhanced in regards to other majors.Plus, he starts the day at 9 under.“To think about even just literally getting double digits under par in a major, I think it’s pretty cool and something that not many people can say they’ve done,” Herbert said. “So if I was able to get to that score, I think that’d be a pretty good achievement.“I’ve done a lot of work this year on my game. I’d love to play a nice solid round tomorrow and at worst finish in the top 10. I think that would give me a lot of satisfaction for the hard work I’ve put in.”HATTON SALUTES THE IRISHMAN: Legion XIII’s Tyrrell Hatton would love to be higher up on the leaderboard – he’s tied for 38th at 5 under – but he did take notice of the 9-under 62 shot by his old Ryder Cup partner Shane Lowry. The two were partners at the 2021 Ryder Cup and won a fourballs match that week.“To see Shane play a round like that, it’s great.” Hatton said. “He’s put himself in a great position going into tomorrow. Naturally, I’ll be sort of hoping that he can get over the line. And I like Xander (Schauffele) as well. …“Obviously my race is run this week, which is disappointing, but I’ll go out there tomorrow, try to shoot a low round – and then I’ve got two weeks off.”CAM’S UNCOOPERATIVE PUTTER: Ripper GC Captain Cameron Smith had one of the day’s highlights by holing out for eagle at the par-5 seventh. But the rest of his round was mostly frustrating, as his normally rock-solid putter let him down.”It hasn’t really cooperated the last three days to be honest,” said Smith, whose’s 5 under and tied for 38th. “Feel like I’m hitting good putts. They’re just not going in. Had a ton of lip-outs today. Just a very frustrating day.”BROOKS UPDATE: Defending PGA Champion Brooks Koepka shot a 3-over 74 to fall out of contention and is 4 under and tied for 47th. Koepka was 5 over through his first 16 holes Saturday before making his only two birdies of the day on his final two holes.KAYMER BOGEY-FREE: Cleeks GC Captain Martin Kaymer shot a bogey-free 68 to move to 5 under.