Star leaderboard, big money and LIV Golf: The biggest storylines for Sunday at the Tour Championship
Third-round play, at 6:36 p.m. ET Saturday, was suspended for the second time due to lightning in the area, and the PGA Tour called play for the day shortly after 7 o’clock. Fourteen players, including leader Scheffler, will resume their third round at 9:45 a.m. Sunday.
Assuming no major delays on Sunday, the FedEx Cup will awarded, along with it the $18 million first-place prize.
With that, here’s four stories to follow for Sunday’s action:
Long day ahead
Thankfully, the Tour Championship features just a 29-man field, which will make it much easier to get everyone around the golf course on Sunday.
That said, the final twosome of Scheffler and Schauffele were in the 13th fairway when play was suspended, and will have five-and-a-half holes to complete when play resumes. Scheffler, who is even for the round and 19-under for the week, will sleep on a one-stroke lead over Schauffele, the smallest after any day of the tournament.
Many others in contention for the huge FedEx Cup bonus purse will be playing extra golf on Sunday. That is except for Justin Thomas, who has just a 2-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole left to play. That would get him to 15-under for the tournament.
Going down the leaderboard, Sungjae Im, in third, has four holes to play; Rory McIlroy, in fourth, has two holes remaining; and among those tied at 14-under and in a tie for fifth is the penultimate pairing of Jon Rahm and Patrick Cantlay, who will play their second shots to the 14th hole when play resumes.
Scheffler’s lead, which was at one point seven shots during Friday’s second round and started at two to begin the week, is now just one over Schauffele. Schauffele twice pulled even with Scheffler on Saturday, but the pair mostly held in place, with Scheffler playing even-par golf for 12 holes, and Schauffele shooting one-under.
What looked like a two-horse race at one point has become anything but, with eight players within five shots of the lead going into Sunday. Schauffele started the day two back of Scheffler, but four clear of anyone else.
“I wasn’t playing my best, but I was kind of hanging in there,” Scheffler said in a brief media session. “I was looking forward to giving myself some opportunities at the end, but then the horn went off.”
Im has a 4-under round through 14 holes going to jump into third at 16-under. Rory McIlroy was 5-under and is at 15-under. There’s a group of four players at 14-under, including Thomas, who is very likely to move to to 15-under once he makes his shorty in the morning to cap off a round of 63.
Big money on the line
In case you haven’t heard, a ton of money is at stake, as this is the final event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. A total of $75 million is on the line Sunday, including $18 million to the winner.
Second place will net $6.5 million. Even the last-place finisher on Sunday will cash a considerable check, at $510k. Will Zalatoris technically finishes last because of his WD earlier in the week and gets $500k, but that is still more that Tour’s leading money winner from 1984 [Tom Watson] made that season.
LIV Golf rumors
Of course, no story talking about the PGA Tour and looking ahead these days can be done without mentioning LIV Golf. Several outlets reported Saturday that two golfers playing in the Tour Championship — Open Championship winner Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann — would be joining the controversial, Saudi-backed league.
Smith completed his third round on Saturday, firing a 2-under 68 to sit at 8-under and in a tie for 18th after starting the week sixth in the FedEx Cup standings and with a 4-under starting score.
Niemann still has four holes to play and is at 12-under and in a tie for 10th.
The reports indicate that both players, along with several others, including Harold Varner III, Mito Pereira and Mark Leishman, will be in the field for next week’s LIV Golf Invitational Boston.
Scheffler on his Saturday night plans: “Just go home and get some sleep and food — sorry, food and then sleep.”