Sony Open: 3 things to know after Round 3 in Hawaii
The leader leads by two strokes. The leader led by two last year. With three holes to play. And he would lose in a playoff. “You hope that you come back and you play well and erase whatever negative memories there are, but all the memories are pretty positive,” he said. “Playing great here last year was good, and I’m excited for the challenge tomorrow. I know it’s going to be really tough. Guys are coming after me. But I’ll just do my best, and, hopefully, it will be enough.” Here are three things you need to know after Saturday’s third round of the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.
Brendan Steele leads
Brendan Steele, up two shots after 15 holes during the fourth round of last year’s Sony, bogeyed the 17th. He then parred the par-5 18th after hooking his second shot while Cameron Smith birdied, and Smith won in a playoff after Smith made a par and Steele a bogey.
On Saturday, Steele had no bogeys. And few pars.
He shot a nine-birdie nine-under 61 for an 18-under total and the two-stroke lead, over Kevin Na and Joaquin Niemann. Five players are three shots back.
“I was really happy how I played last year all the way through the final round,” Steele said. “I would have liked to hit a better shot into 18, but Cameron had a really tough up-and-down and made a great putt and then hit a great shot in the playoff and forced my hand on the second shot there. I was very happy with everything I did, and I don’t feel like I did anything differently last year than the times that I’ve won.
“I would like to do the exact same thing tomorrow and hopefully it’s good enough.”
Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Na are tied for second
Na, behind seven birdies and an eagle, also shot a 61, and he and Niemann are two strokes behind. Niemann lost last week’s Tournament of Champions in a playoff.
Three shots back are Stewart Cink, Charley Hoffman, Russell Henley, Peter Malnati and Chris Kirk, and four shots behind are Daniel Berger, Marc Leishman, Keith Mitchell and Nick Taylor, the leader after the second round.