Séamus Power and Ben Griffin take over share of lead on Moving Day
Heading into the final round, two golfers are two shots clear of the field in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, after the winds of the Port Royal Golf Course returned to slow down the runaway scoring of the first two rounds.
But Séamus Power (65-65-65) and Ben Griffin (65-64-66) held on amid blustery conditions to position themselves for a run at the title.
After all, it was moving day on the PGA Tour.
The way forward for some of the world’s best golfers on Saturday was to figure out the wind.
It had inched a bit higher, out of the south-southwest at 15-20 mph, gusting to 25mph.
Putts that were easily being sunk on the first two days were suddenly given far more respect on Saturday. And spectators saw more than a few shots veer offline, with professional golfers visiting a few edges of the course normally discovered only by members.
None of this stopped Power; not even the double bogey five he suffered on the dangerous 227-yard No 13, which the wind just turned into a beast.
He blocked it out of his mind with three back-nine birdies on 11, 16 and 17.
He had already inflicted his damage on the front nine, shooting five under, including four birdies in a row from the 2nd.
He conceded he was proud of himself, hanging tough after the double bogey and coming back with two closing birdies.
Still, six under in the wind?
“You knew it was going to be tough,” Power said, “because once you get to 13 through 16, it's just very, very difficult. I mean, I hit some good shots.
Even on 13, I thought I hit a very good four-iron, but the ball is in the air off the elevated tee and just keeps moving and moving, and misses on the short side and you make a double.
“Even on 15, I had a pitch shot that kind of summed it up. I ended up in a funny spot off the tee. I had 50 yards for a pitch shot and I aimed my pitch shot about ten yards left of the pin, and ended up right of the pin.
“It was just one of those kind of days; your imagination had to keep working. Your focus and trust had to be there, and mine was, for the most part.”
Meanwhile, co-leader Griffin thought a key to his success was control, the way he flighted the ball.
He shot a 32 front after birdieing the first three holes and adding another at the par-five 7th. He was just ticking along when he, too, ran into trouble at the par-three 13th.
He said: “In these conditions I feel like some guys could get themselves on difficult sides of the golf course and I did a really good job of kind of keeping it in the right spot. The only kind of fluke on my scorecard was No 13, the par-three.
“But it was playing really hard. I thought I left it in a really good spot, but I had just kind of a nasty lie and wasn't able to get up and down. But it was a pretty clean round and I was pretty content with how I fought out there. Now, I'm in contention going into tomorrow.”
He feels confident about the state of his game, and that did not change in Saturday’s adverse conditions.
“The putter stayed pretty hot, but it was tough putting in the wind. It's a completely different ballgame.
“Yeah, just kept it low and kept it in play and gave myself a lot of looks and was able to get out of there with a good round.”
Two shots back at 16 under are Australian Aaron Baddeley (65-64-68) and Taiwanese Kevin Yu (64-66-67).
The 2020 winner Brian Gay is not to be counted out, even though he has graduated to the Champions Tour.
Gay (66-66-66) is all alone in fifth place at 15 under.
Second-round leader Ben Crane’s two-over 73 dropped him into a tie for ninth. He struggled in the wind, carding three birdies, but surrendering shots on six holes, mostly on the back nine.