Bryson DeChambeau said on Saturday after shooting an 8-under 63 at The Northern Trust that he saw Keegan Bradley shoot a 9-under 62 earlier in the day and he knew he'd have to get a little crazy to have a shot at winning the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. So he birdied seven of his first 11 holes and lit the front nine on fire to get to 16 under overall, four clear of Bradley and the rest of the field heading into the final round on Sunday.
"I knew if I wanted to be at the top of the leaderboard today, I'd have to take it deep," DeChambeau told CBS Sports' Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo. "Fortunately that's what I did."
DeChambeau did pretty much everything well on Sunday. He was fifth from tee to green, second in putting and gained seven strokes on one of the better fields of the season. Now he's put himself in position to grab his second win of 2018 and more or less lock up one of the four wild card spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team in September.
DeChambeau finished one spot out of automatically qualifying for the matches in Paris, but a win on Sunday would make him a cinch for a loaded American squad. He knows that. Captain Jim Furyk knows that. Pretty much everyone knows that.
The former U.S. Amateur champion got pretty hyped when Nantz and Faldo asked him about it, jumping in excitedly and saying, "Man on a mission." And that was pretty much all he said about that.
He'll have a nice cushion on Sunday to close out his second 54-hole lead of the season with Bradley trailing by four and two other golfers -- Tony Finau and Cameron Smith -- trailing by five. Even if he doesn't go on to win, he'll still likely be on the Ryder Cup team, but there's a lot to play for on Sunday for DeChambeau. He's projected to go to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup rankings, would shoot up the Official World Golf Rankings (he's currently No. 21) as well as the aforementioned Ryder Cup.
The mission is multifaceted. DeChambeau is complex enough to handle it. We'll see if it goes how he has it planned.
Here are four other thoughts on the third round of The Northern Trust.
1. Surging Spieth: In addition to DeChambeau's 63 and that 62 from Bradley on Saturday, Jordan Spieth shot a 64 from out of nowhere (following two straight 70s) and played his way into T6. Spieth hasn't held many leads this year, and he won't again at this tournament save for a miracle 61 or 62 in the final round, but it's good to see him straighten out his game a little bit heading into the stretch run and (maybe even more importantly) the Ryder Cup.
2. Tiger stalled out: I watched Big Cat's round on Saturday, and he's just not finding the gear he needs to compete this week. A 3-under 68 leaves him T49 and 13 (!) strokes back of DeChambeau going into Sunday's final round. He has no realistic shot of winning this tournament and very little of getting into the top 10. He'll grind on Sunday because he always grinds on Sunday, but conserving some mental and physical energy for the next two events would be beneficial for the 79-time winner.
3. Consistent (?!) Lefty: Phil Mickelson just shot 68-68-68 to open a FedEx Cup Playoff event. This is a real thing that happened with somebody whose year and career have been marked by wild fluctuations in play and patterns of both elite and, uh, not so elite play. Mickelson is already on the 2018 Ryder Cup team so there's nothing to worry about there, but it's nice to him playing so consistently at such a high level this late in the season. It's also nice to see him chirping as much as ever.
4. Over par superstars: This one might be even more improbable than what Mickelson did on Saturday. Raise your hand if you had Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka shooting a combined 2 over on Saturday in Round 3. They both dropped well back of DeChambeau's lead and will need monstrous rounds on Sunday to even have a chance at winning. For one to do it would raise an eyebrow, but for the top two players in the world to eject in that way on a day when the scoring average was under par is a pretty big disappointment.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way Saturday updating this story live with the latest scores, highlights and analysis throughout Round 3 of The Northern Trust -- particularly when Woods was on the course. If you are unable to view the live updates below, please click here.
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