DeChambeau grabs PGA lead and major Ryder Cup attention

Bernie McGuire
A third victory in DeChambeau's young career would lift the 24-year-old atop the playoff points standings

Bryson DeChambeau, looking to boost his chances for a US Ryder Cup captain's pick, stormed his way four shots clear of his rivals Saturday at the US PGA Northern Trust tournament.

DeChambeau birdied six of the closing 11 holes in a PGA career-low eight-under par 63 in the third round to stand on 16-under 197 after 54 holes in the opening playoff event at Ridgewood Country Club.

A third victory in DeChambeau's young career would lift the 24-year-old atop the playoff points standings and boost his chances for a captain's choice from Jim Furyk next month onto the US Ryder Cup squad that defends the trophy next month in France.

Dallas-based DeChambeau, the reigning Memorial champion, birdied his second, third and sixth holes before his only bogey of the round at the seventh ahead of birdies at eight and nine to draw level with Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner who signed for a 62 and stood second on 201.

DeChambeau moved to 14-under par with birdies at 11 and 12 before stretching his advantage to four shots with a tap-in birdie on the par-5 17th and a 17-foot birdie gem at the last.

"I just felt like every time I was able to hit it in the fairway, I was attacking flags," he said. "My golf swing was feeling great and my putting, that has been the key this week for me. I've been rolling my rock really well."

DeChambeau missed the cut and finished ninth in the US Ryder Cup points race that ended at the PGA Championship earlier this month. Only the top eight qualified for the squad, leaving DeChambeau in need of Furyk's prized pick.

"I knew once I missed the cut, I was not going to have a chance to make the top eight," DeChambeau said.

"That was really disappointing and especially with the way it happened. I knew that I'm good enough, especially after playing so well this year, to be on that team.

"I can't look at it as that anymore. I've just got to look at it as each week is unique, and yeah, I can't focus on how this affects the Ryder Cup.

"Each week is unique and I've got to play my best each and every week, and if I play well in the FedExCup playoffs, the rest will speak for itself. That's all you can do."

Bradley produced his lowest round in seven years to stand second.

"It was a decent round and I've been saying, I can't remember the last time I felt that calm and together the whole round, from the very first tee," he said.

"I actually felt calmer as the day went on. It's not really normally the case with me. That was fun."

Australia's Cameron Smith birdied four holes in succession from his third in a score of 65 to share third place on 11-under par with American Tony Finau, who shot 66.

- Tiger, Koepka struggle -

The second-round leading duo of triple-major winner Brooks Koepka and compatriot Jamie Lovemark struggled with Koepka managing two birdies in a one-over par 72 to share seventh on 204.

Lovemark also had just two birdies but also dropped four shots in his 73 to end the round one shot behind Koepka.

Tiger Woods will start his final round in 49th place on 210 after another frustrating day with the putter, signing for a 68.

"If I can get to 10-under par it would be a nice way to end it," Woods said.

"Most of these guys are going to go really low, and hopefully I can shoot well, one that will get me into double digits tomorrow and give me some nice momentum going into Boston next week."