Golf: Closing birdie lifts Schenk into PGA lead at Las Vegas

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – American Adam Schenk, chasing his first US PGA Tour victory, birdied three of the last four holes to seize a one-stroke lead after Saturday’s (Oct 9) third round of the Shriners Children’s Open.

World No. 207 Schenk, never better than fourth in 118 career PGA events, sank a birdie from just inside eight feet at the par-four 18th to fire a five-under 66.

“It was nice to finish off with a birdie,” Schenk said. “Great day. I couldn’t have shot many shots lower.”

That left him on 18-under 195 for 54 holes at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, good enough for a one-stroke lead over countryman Matthew Wolff, last year’s US Open runner-up.

Americans Sam Burns, Chad Ramey and Andrew Putnam shared third on 197.

Schenk answered a bogey at the par-three fifth with three birdies in a row to close the front nine, then rolled in birdies from three feet at 15th and 17 feet at 16th to share the lead, setting the stage for his clutch final swing.

“I’m definitely going to have to drive it a lot straighter tomorrow,” Schenk said. “Just try and do the same things I’ve been doing. See what happens tomorrow but what a great opportunity.”

Wolff, 22, won his only PGA title at the 2019 3M Open but liked his chances in a Sunday shoot-out.

“I’m not getting flustered, not getting ahead of myself,” he said. “The things I’m working on, I know if I keep working I’ll be fine.”

Wolff tapped in for birdie at the ninth after missing a 15-foot eagle putt, then caught fire on the back nine.

He birdied from eight feet at the 11th, tapped-in for birdie at the par-five 13th, drove the green at the par-four 15th and sank a four-foot birdie putt, then eagled the par-five 16th from just inside seven feet.

At the par-five 18th, Wolff was inches off on an eagle chip and tapped in for birdie and a 65.

“It was pretty gusty out there,” Wolff said. “You never knew if you were going to hit and a gust of wind was going to pick up. It was a little hard to get used to. It made the front nine a little harder to make birdies.

“Luckily on the back nine I turned it on and made a few.”

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Burns seeks his third PGA title of the year and of his career after wins at May’s Valspar Championship and last week’s Sanderson Farms Championship.

Burns closed the front nine with three birdies. He sank a 15-foot birdie putt at the par-four seventh, dropped his approach inside five feet to set up a birdie at the par-three eighth and tapped in for birdie at the par-five ninth.

He holed a 13-foot birdie putt at the 11th but took a bogey at 16th after finding water on his approach.

Putnam missed a nine-foot birdie putt at the 18th that would have given him a share of the lead and a fourth straight birdie to close his round.

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