3 storylines heading into Butterfield Bermuda Championship final round

Seamus Power of Ireland plays his shot from the ninth tee during the third round of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course on October 29, 2022 in Southampton.

Seamus Power is tied atop the leaderboard ahead of the final round of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.

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The PGA Tour’s trip to paradise will come to a close Sunday with the final round of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship from Port Royal Golf Course.

While the event was slated to be an opposite-field event, the WGC-HSBC Championship was canceled, meaning the Bermuda Championship winner will walk away with a regular 500 FedEx Cup points.

While many of the PGA Tour’s stars are taking the week off, there’s still plenty of intrigue for the final round on Sunday. Below find three storylines we’re watching.

A model of consistency … sort of

Seamus Power followed up his 65-65 start to the week with a third-consecutive six-under score to find himself in the lead by one stroke at 18 under.

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While his third-round score matches his early-round cards, a closer look reveals more of an up-and-down Saturday. Power blitzed out to an outward 31 thanks to four straight birdies, but he doubled the 13th hole before getting back those two strokes with birdies on 16 and 17.

Unlike many of the pros in the field, Power has found the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour before, bringing home the hardware at the 2020 Barbosol Championship. He’s also begun to come into form in the last couple of years and had a career-best 43rd-place finish in last season’s FedEx Cup standings.

Given the changes on the European Ryder Cup team, a strong season could land the Irishman on the team for the first time in his career and a win before the end of the year would go a long way to accomplishing that goal.

Contenders young and old

Joining Power at the top is PGA Tour rookie Ben Griffin. This is just the 8th start in his PGA Tour career for Griffin who earned his status for this season by finishing in the top 10 of the Korn Ferry Tour’s season-long points list.

Griffin birdied the 18th hole Saturday to get into the clubhouse with a third-round 66.

Fellow rookie Kevin Yu is also in the mix, just two strokes back of the leaders at 16 under. Yu also earned his status as a 2022 Korn Ferry Tour graduate.

But there aren’t just young up-and-commers in the field this week. With nine wins between the two of them, PGA Tour veterans Brian Gay and Aaron Baddeley are also in the mix at 15 and 16 under respectively.

Gay has been playing most of his golf this year on the PGA Tour Champions, notching five top-10s in 14 starts so far during his debut season. His last win came just two years ago at this same event. He fired three-consecutive rounds of 66 to hold solo fifth.

Baddeley has been searching for his fifth PGA Tour win since the 2016 Barbasol Championship. He lost his status after the 2020 season and played nearly as many Korn Ferry Tour events last year as PGA Tour events. He’s making the most of his spot in the field this week after Monday qualifying.

Island winds

The much-ballyhooed par-3 16th at Port Royal was shortened on Saturday to just 132 yards, down from the scorecard yardage of 235. Even at a wedge yardage, the gusty 25-30 mph winds Saturday in Southampton resulted in the one-shotter playing as the seventh most difficult hole on the course, yielding just eight birdies.

The same strong southwesterly winds are forecasted to shift due west for Sunday which will make the crosswind blow more directly into the players.

The Tour has given no indication of what tee it plans to use for the cliffside hole, but the conditions should provide dramatic theater coming down the stretch for the final round.

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