Scottie Scheffler shot a 1-under-par 69 Saturday to move to 7 under and secure a one-shot lead over five players after three rounds of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open.
Scheffler followed Friday’s 62 with a more modest score as the field faced tougher scoring conditions at Memorial Park Golf Club. But it was enough to put Scheffler, the No. 21 player in the world who competed for Team USA in the Ryder Cup in September, in good position to land his first PGA Tour win.
“I think I always prefer the harder courses because I feel like I can take it deep on them still and get myself back in the tournament, which I did this week,” Scheffler said. “This golf course is pretty challenging, but it’s not a golf course where if you’re playing great golf, you can’t take advantage of it. There’s some scoring holes out there, and I’m just going to do my best tomorrow to put myself in position and hopefully make some birdies.”
Scheffler made three birdies and two bogeys on the day. He missed the green at the par-4 13th hole but chipped in for birdie from the fairway roughly 55 feet away. He built on that at the next hole, a par 3, by sticking his tee shot inside 10 feet of the flag to convert birdie.
The Texan said he was looking for one more all-around solid round of golf Sunday, not aiming for a particular score.
“I’m just going to go out there and try to get off to a good start and hopefully put myself out in front early and stay there,” he said.
Martin Trainer, the 36-hole leader, shot a 4-over 74 Saturday to drop to 6 under and the tie for second.
Trainer is tied with Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela (68), Matthew Wolff (69), Kramer Hickok (70) and Kevin Tway (73).
Wolff made a move on the back nine. Birdies at Nos. 13, 14 and 16 pushed him to a solo lead at 8 under. But his second shot at the par-4 17th hole found the water short of the green, and he ended up with a double bogey.
“The wind was definitely swirling, at least I thought,” Wolff said. “I was having a hard time figuring out the wind, and that definitely cost me a few shots on 17 and on 7. So I think that was difficult, but I think it’s just firming up a little bit.”
Tway also held the lead by himself at 8 under late after draining a 23 1/2-foot putt at the par-5 16th. He, too, found the water at No. 17 and soon finished bogey-bogey.
Unlike his counterparts, Vegas found the water at No. 16, carded a bogey, then posted a bounce-back birdie at the 17th on a nearly 15-foot putt.
“I just decided, hey, there’s still a lot of golf to be played, let’s give ourself a chance and gave myself a 15-footer or so, and it was a great putt,” Vegas said. “Obviously that’s going to be a pivotal hole tomorrow, and hopefully we can turn it around and use some positive energy and make something happen there.”
The 37-year-old veteran has three PGA Tour wins, but none since 2017.
Jason Kokrak (66), Russell Henley (68) and Luke List (69) are tied for seventh at 5 under.
Vincent Whaley made seven birdies during a 5-under 65 that proved to be the low score of the day, tying him for 10th at 4 under with Adam Schenk, Adam Long and Australia’s Marc Leishman.
–Field Level Media