Beau Hossler wasn’t sure how he did not make a bogey Saturday. Actually, he hasn’t made one in 26 holes, which somewhat explains how he jumped 28 spots over the past two rounds and now co-leads the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
“Kind of a miracle, to be honest,” Hossler said.
Above him, trees swayed wildly outside the TPC Summerlin clubhouse amid wind gusts of 30 mph. Hossler had just signed for a 5-under-par 66, the low score of a third round that put him in a tie with J.J. Spaun at 9 under. Spaun was the second-round leader at 11 under, but he opened with three bogeys in five holes and limped in with a 73.
They own a three-stroke lead over Tony Finau, who carded 69 for the third consecutive day and apparently could shoot under par in a wind tunnel.
“It was tough. The balls are flying all over the place,” Finau said. “It’s hard to not leaderboard watch on a day like today because you never know what’s going to happen. The wind was crazy out there and it was hard to pull the right clubs.”
The 54-hole total of 9-under 204 was the highest since the tournament began using only one course in 2008. Four players settled into a tie for fourth: Tom Hoge — who also didn’t make a bogey during his 67 — Gary Woodland (68), Chesson Hadley (69) and Patrick Cantlay (70). All were four strokes back at 5 under.
“If it’s like this (Sunday), it’s just anyone’s game,” Spaun said. “It just boils down to not making mistakes.”
Hossler, 22, is in his first year on the tour, but he’s not considered a rookie because he has played more than seven events. He’s made 10 starts and notched his best finish last week, a tie for 10th at the Sanderson Farms Championship.
“It was kind of one of those days where you don’t get wrapped up in your score,” Hossler said. “I made some nice saves with my short irons and my putter. If I can go Sunday and keep the putter rolling, I feel good.”
Spaun recovered on the back nine with two birdies, but he bogeyed the par-3 17th and saved par with a 10-foot putt on No. 18.
“I was really uncomfortable, considering the conditions and position I was in,” he said. “Those last five holes were pretty brutal. To not give too many shots back on those holes, it’s not as bad as it looks.”
Hossler and Spaun will be paired in Sunday’s final group with Finau, who might have the edge in consistency and math. Finau’s calculations were so accurate Saturday that he hit 17 of 18 greens. His round included an eagle at the par-5 ninth hole, where he reached the green in two and dropped a 12-foot putt.
Finau, 28, might have an edge in experience at TPC Summerlin, too. He’s played twice before at the Shriners Open, finishing tied for seventh in 2015 and tied for 16th last year. He also owns the only PGA Tour title in the final group, having won the 2016 Puerto Rico Open.
“There is no edge,” Finau said. “These guys are coming out and they’re ready to win. … I have more experience as far as years on Tour, but these guys know that they can play.”
Finau and Hossler started the tournament in 28th place and now find themselves dueling with Spaun and several others in the groups behind them.
“There’s a handful of us that have a chance at it,” Finau said.
If you go
Where: TPC Summerlin
Tickets: $35 adults; 8 and under free
Purse: $6,800,000; winner’s share $1.224 million
Defending champion: Rod Pampling