Sang-Moon Bae (pictured by Getty Images) began and ended round three in grand fashion. After five consecutive birdies on Nos. 2-6, Bae finished eagle-birdie at Nos. 17 and 18 and takes a four-stroke lead into the final round. His lead is the largest in tournament history, supplanting three-stroke leads by Troy Matteson in 2009 and Rocco Mediate in 2010.
This marks Bae’s first lead/co-lead after 54 holes.
Bae’s only three bogeys through 54 holes came on the par-4 12th hole in round one and the par-3 seventh and par-4 13th holes in round three.
Although he was able to collect six top-15 finishes in 24 starts in the 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season, Bae was unable to manage a top 10.
Bae, winner of the 2013 AT&T Byron Nelson Championship, is in search of his second PGA TOUR win this week. After three rounds in Dallas, Bae was one stroke behind 54-hole leader Keegan Bradley. Dating to 2006, he has collected 12 international victories.
With a win this week, Bae would become the third international winner of the Frys.com Open, joining Mike Weir (2007) and Jonas Blixt (2012).
A player of Korean-descent in their 20s has won on TOUR in each of the last four years: Kevin Na (2011/28 years, 17 days), John Huh (2012/21 years, 9 months, 5 days), Sang-Moon Bae (2013/26 years, 10 months, 29 days) and Seung-Yul Noh (22 years, 10 months, 29 days).
With his win at the 2013 AT&T Byron Nelson Championship, Bae became the fifth golfer of Korean-descent to capture a PGA TOUR event: K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang, Kevin Na and John Huh. Seung-Yul Noh’s win at the 2014 Zurich Classic of New Orleans has since taken that total to six.
R1 at a glance: 9 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens, 27 putts
R2 at a glance: 7 of 14 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 28 putts
R3 at a glance: 7 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens, 25 putts
Third-Round Leaders at the Frys.com Open
Troy Matteson (2009) and Rocco Mediate (2010) are the only third-round leaders/co-leaders to hang on for the win in the seven-year history of the Frys.com Open.
PGA TOUR rookie Zac Blair earned his 2014-15 card based on finishing 11th on the 2014 Web.com Tour priority list. On that Tour last year, he began the season with limited conditional status, but ended up with 12 starts. In eight made cuts, he collected a pair of runner-up finishes. A month after finishing T2 at the Price Cutter Championship, he netted solo-second-place honors at the Web.com Tour Championship three weeks ago.
On PGA TOUR Latinamerica, he made six cuts in seven starts, with three resulting in top-6 finishes.
Blair, who will be 24 years, 1 month and 22 days Sunday, is just a month away from getting married to Alicia Watkins.
Second round leader Martin Laird posted a 1-under 71 in round three and will begin the final round five strokes back.
Laird, a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR, is in search of his first win since the 2013 Valero Texas Open, where he also began the final round five strokes off the lead. Laird also won the 2009 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Laird is making his third start at the Frys.com Open (T13-2009, T34-2008).
En route to Laird’s T13 finish at the 2009 Frys.com Open was a third-round 62, representing his career-low round on the PGA TOUR (also shot 62 in the second round of the 2010 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open).
During the 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season, Laird’s only top-10 finish in 20 starts was a T6 at the Barracuda Championship, played under the Modified Stableford scoring format. His only top-15 finishes came in two of his last three starts (T6/Barracuda Championship, T14/Wyndham Championship).
R1 at a glance: 9 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens, 27 putts
R2 at a glance: 6 of 14 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 26 putts
R3 at a glance: 8 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens, 32 putts
Making his second Frys.com Open start (T58 in 2013), Scott Langley is tied for the lead in birdies through three rounds with 17 (Sang-Moon Bae, Tony Finau, Retief Goosen and Hunter Mahan).
Langley is coming off of his sophomore season on the PGA TOUR, finishing No. 77 in the FedExCup with a season-best T3 at the Valspar Championship.
R1 at a glance: 8 of 14 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 27 putts
R2 at a glance: 9 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens, 27 putts
R3 at a glance: 8 of 14 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 29 putts
Brooks Koepka kept himself in the mix, thanks to a 5-under 67, highlighted by birdies at his final three holes. Last year, playing the event on a sponsor’s exemption, Koepka entered the final round with a two-stroke lead before a 1-over 72 left him T3, three strokes behind Jimmy Walker.
R1 at a glance: 10 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens, 27 putts
R2 at a glance: 8 of 14 fairways, 15 of 18 greens, 31 putts
R3 at a glance: 7 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens, 29 putts
In round three, Matt Kuchar posted a bogey-free, 6-under 66 that featured four birdies and an eagle at the par-4 17th. After a 291-yard drive to within six feet of the hole, Kuchar converted for the eagle-two. Kuchar hasn’t posted a bogey since the first hole in round two.
Kuchar, a seven-time winner on the PGA TOUR, is looking for his second win in the 2014 calendar season, having previously won the RBC Heritage in April. In addition to the Harbour Town win in the 2013-14 PGA TOUR Season, Kuchar collected an additional 10 top-10 finishes.
This week’s Frys.com Open is Kuchar’s first start in the event. He is one of four players in this week’s field coming off an appearance in the Ryder Cup two weeks ago.
R1 at a glance: 11 of 14 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 30 putts
R2 at a glance: 10 of 14 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 27 putts
R3 at a glance: 6 of 14 fairways, 16 of 18 greens, 29 putts
Ryder Cuppers at Frys.com Open
The Frys.com Open features four members of this year’s Ryder Cup: Hunter Mahan (T7, third-round 68), Matt Kuchar (T3, third-round 66), Jimmy Walker (T54, third-round 73), Lee Westwood (T29, third-round 69).
Defending Frys.com Open champion Jimmy Walker couldn’t keep the momentum from round two’s 66 going in round three, as he struggled in with a 1-over 73. Through three rounds, Walker is at 2-under 214.
Jarrod Lyle followed rounds of 72-70 with a 71 in round three. At 3-under 213 and T41, he’ll begin the final round 13 strokes back.
Five past champions of the Frys.com Open, dating to 2007, made starts in this week’s field:
Champion (Year) R1-3 Scores
Bryce Molder (2011) 70-69-69—208 (-8)
Jimmy Walker (2013) 75-66-73—214 (-2)
Jonas Blixt (2012) 70-75—145 (MC)
Mike Weir (2007) 73-75—148 (MC)
Troy Matteson (2009) 75-78—153 (MC)
This week’s Frys.com Open marks the 29th PGA TOUR or Champions Tour event hosted by Silverado Resort and Spa; Kaiser International Open Invitational (1968-76), Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic (1977-80) and The Transamerica (1989-2002) on the Champions Tour.
Sean O’Hair withdrew during the third round with a back injury.
R1: Martin Laird (67), Tyrone Van Aswegen (68), Marc Leishman (69), Billy Hurley III (70), Brad Fritsch (70).
R2: Zachary Blair (66), Hideki Matsuyama (67), Sang-Moon Bae (69), Sean O’Hair (69).
R3: Matt Kuchar (66), Spencer Levin (67), Lee Westwood (69).
Scoring Averages at the par-72 Silverado Resort and Spa (North):
Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative
R1: 36.201 35.889 72.090 —
R2: 35.993 35.601 71.594 71.843
R3: 35.720 35.293 71.013 71.671
Weather: Sunny, with a high of 79 degrees. Winds SW 5-10 mph.
Sang-Moon Bae 66-69-65—200 (-16)
Zachary Blair 69-66-69—204 (-12)
Matt Kuchar 71-68-66—205 (-11)
Brooks Koepka 68-70-67—205 (-11)
Martin Laird 67-67-71—205 (-11)
Scott Langley 70-66-69—205 (-11)
Source: PGA TOUR