Tony Finau and Taylor Pendrith are in a Detroit duel.
Finau shot a 7-under-par 65 on Saturday to match Pendrith at 21-under 195 with a round left in the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
“If we put together a good round, might be a two-man race,” Finau said.
The 3M Open winner last week in Minnesota, Finau is trying to become the first to win consecutive regular-season tournaments in three years.
“I probably have more pressure just because I’ve never won before and Tony’s a multiple winner and he won last week,” said Pendrith, who was a stroke a ahead entering the round and birdied four of the last five holes for a 66.
Pendrith had third-round lead by three shots last October at the Bermuda Championship before closing with a 76 and finishing a career-high fifth. In March, he was 13th at the Players Championship and came away with a career-best $327,222 payday — and a broken rib.
Rookie of the year front-runner Cameron Young (65) was four strokes back. He matched the Detroit Golf Club record with a 63 on Friday.
“I have to play a ridiculous round of golf to have any chance,” Young said.
Pendrith was the second-round leader after setting the tournament 36-hole record at 15-under 129. The 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie from Canada missed nearly four months this year with a broken rib.
All afternoon, Pendrith and Finau took turns pulling and falling into ties and taking leads.
“It’s almost like a match play situation where we kind of flipped the script there on each other in the beginning,” Finau said. “We both have done a great job up to this point through 54 holes of maintaining our composure.”
Pendrith opened with 6-foot birdie putt to take a two-shot lead. Finau pulled within a stroke on the next hole, making a 20-foot chip from the greenside rough for birdie.
“Stay hot, Tony!” a fan shouted at a player without a bogey this week.
Pendrith, who had his share of fans make the 4-hour drive from in Ontario, looked cool and calm as he bumped fists with two young boys as he walked to the third tee.
“It had a nice feel to it, a lot of energy from the crowd and both played some solid golf and kind of feeding off each other,” Finau said. “It was nice to have that type of energy.”
Finau pulled into the lead with a 15-foot putt at No. 3, then Pendrith pulled his 3-foot putt to miss an opportunity to stay ahead.
“Maybe a little nerves,” he acknowledged.
Pendrith followed that up with an errant tee shot to the left on the par-5 631-yard fourth hole that put him in the No. 6 greenside rough, leaving him behind several towering tees in his path. He he hit a shot 104 yards to the hole, an approach within 16 feet and made the putt to restore his one-stroke lead.
Finau equaled Pendrith at 18 under at the turn after making birdies at Nos. 7 and 8 while Pendrith missed a 1-foot putt and make bogey on the ninth hole.
Pendrith ended up behind a tree again at No. 13, forcing him to chip back onto the fairway and leading to a bogey that dropped him him into a second-place tie with Young.
“Just kind of hit a poor tee ball and maybe got a little bit of a bad break right behind the tree,” Pendrith said.
Pendrith, who won twice on PGA Tour Canada, bounced back from his second bogey with three straight birdies to pull back into a tie with two holes to play.
“To get three in a row after that was a big momentum boost and obviously set myself up nicely with those three holes,” he said.
Finau went ahead at 17 with a birdie, and Pendrith tied it again with a birdie on the 54th hole.
If Finau can outlast the competition to win Sunday, he will be the first to win two straight regular-season events since since Brendon Todd in 2019.
LIV GOLF — Henrik Stenson overcame a double bogey on his third hole with a long eagle putt and enough birdies for a 2-under 69 at windy Trump National Bedminster and a three-shot lead over Dustin Johnson in the LIV Golf Invitational.
Two weeks ago, Stenson had just missed the cut in the British Open and was still the Ryder Cup captain for Europe. Now the 46-year-old Swede is 18 holes away from a $4 million prize, more than double the biggest check of his career.
“It was a bit of a grind at times, and then we kind of came through with some really good shots and made some nice putts,” Stenson said.
He was at 9-under 133, as only 13 players from the 48-man field remained under par.
“Overall, I’m pleased, and we’re at the races,” Stenson said.
Johnson has hit the ball consistently well for two days at Trump National and got enough putts to fall for a 69, leaving him three back and in the final group with Stenson.
Talor Gooch had the best round by three shots, a 64 that moved him into a tie for third at 5 under along with Patrick Reed (73) and Carlos Ortiz (70).
LPGA — Lydia Ko was joined by Celine Boutier at the top of the leaderboard after day three of the Women’s Scottish Open.
France’s Boutier shot a 5-under-par 67 — five birdies on the front nine — to make up four shots on the New Zealander, who could manage only a 1-under 71. “I really like links golf and playing in windy conditions. I feel like my ball flight is pretty low and so I never really have trouble keeping it down which is an advantage here because the ball doesn’t get affected as much,” Boutier said. “And I had some good memories of playing well in the past so that’s always helpful.”
Ko offset three bogeys with a birdie finish at Dundonald Links. “My irons were not as sharp so I don’t think I set myself up for as many easier kind of 15 feet and birdie opportunities,” she said. “I know it wasn’t the best golf I’ve played, but I was able to scramble around. I don’t think it was as bad as I think, and I think because I had two really low rounds it makes me compare more to the past couple days.”
Canada’s Maude-Aimee Leblanc started and finished with birdies for a 66 which lifted her to second place alongside Germany’s Leonie Harm on 14 under, one shot off the lead.
Eun-Hee Ji (70) and Lilia Vu (71) were two off the lead going into the last round.
European — Sean Crocker’s chip-in eagle on the par-5 18th hole gave him a two-stroke lead headed into the final round at the Hero Open. The American, bidding for his first European tour title, finished at 3-under 69 to keep Jens Dantorp of Sweden two shots behind after three rounds at Fairmont St. Andrews in Scotland. Crocker, who started the day with a one-shot lead, moved to 18 under for the tournament.