A dramatic day filled with crazy penalty drops, a wicked thunderstorm, and a birdie-less 4-under 67 were just some of the highlights from round three of the Palmetto Championship at Congaree. Unfortunately, the third round was called as the final two groups were on the 18th hole. Tain Lee, Harris English, Dustin Johnson, and leader Chesson Hadley all headed to the final hole at 7:30 a.m. Sunday to complete the round.
Chesson Hadley (-14) finished off his round early Sunday as the 54-hole leader with a four-shot advantage over Harris English. There is a rivalry Sunday that is shaping up between the Georgia Tech alum Hadley and former University of Georgia standout English, who will be paired together for the final round on what could be a wet and wild day at Congaree Golf Club.
Hadley has once again utilized his putter as his weapon of choice, gaining 3.6 shots against the field on the greens, per Data Golf. Meanwhile, English did everything well during his 4-under third round that he completed Sunday morning.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson started off with a ho-hum par on the tricky first hole and a birdie on the gettable par-5 2nd, but his approach game evaporated in the steamy Lowcountry conditions. The Columbia native briefly sat atop the leaderboard on Saturday, but he will enter his final round a stunning seven shots behind Hadley after bogeying the last first thing Sunday.
Local star Bryson Nimmer finds himself tied for 27th after a stellar 4-under-par 67 on Saturday, leaving him only three shots out of the ever-important top 10. Nimmer carded five birdies to only one bogey and will look to get inside the top 10 Sunday to open up invites to more PGA Tour events later this season. Likewise, Tain Lee will try to bounce back from his 1-over performance and a questionable drop at the 15th hole in hopes of a strong top-10 finish and qualifying for the next PGA Tour event.
Speaking of 4-under rounds, Tyrell Hatton had one of the wildest 67s of the PGA Tour season. The Englishmen carded one of the best rounds of the day without scoring one birdie. The fiery, soon-to-be Ryder Cup member had three eagles, including two back-to-back eagle twos on the 15th and 16th holes. He jarred his approach from 107 yards away on the 16th hole after holing out his eagle from less than 70 feet at the driveable par-4 15th hole.
Garrick Higgo, the young South African, really got his round going on the back nine, firing a 3-under 32 with only one bogey to his four birdies coming back in. The former UNLV star is tied for third and will be paired with Bo Van Pelt in the penultimate group Sunday.
Van Pelt provides another fun feel-good story with local ties. The 46-year-old PGA Tour veteran has found great form this week at Congaree and enters Sunday tied for fourth place at 7-under par. His looper for the week is Trent Hoisington, a caddie at Congaree Golf Club and former Hilton Head Island High School golf star who is having the time of his life inside the ropes this week.
The unique schoolhouse trophy is Hadley’s for the taking, but with an unpredictable weather forecast and an unforgiving golf course, just about anything could happen in the final 18 holes at Congaree.
By Brian Rietveld