Seamus Power knows the wind and Port Royal well enough to realize he’d better do his scoring early. He did just that Saturday, added a few birdies late and had another 6-under-par 65 to share the lead with Ben Griffin in the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.
Power holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the daunting par-3 16th and made a 12-foot birdie on the par-5 17th to atone for his lone mistake, a double bogey on the par-3 13th.
Griffin followed the same script in a strong wind with three birdies to open his round. He kept his approach under the wind on the 18th to 5 feet for birdie and a 66.
They were at 18-under 195, two shots clear of Kevin Yu (67) and Aaron Baddeley (68).
Power at No. 48 is the highest-ranked player at Port Royal.
Power has one PGA Tour victory, the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky last year. He would love nothing more than a win for a strong early start to the PGA Tour and to assure his spot in the Masters.
For Griffin, even more as at stake.
He gave up on the game a few years ago and was working as a loan mortgage officer when he was inspired playing in a member-guest, and the members put up money for him to Monday qualify into a Korn Ferry Tour event.
That was the start of baby steps — making it through Korn Ferry Tour qualifying, and then last year earning his full card onto the PGA Tour.
A victory Sunday comes with a two-year exemption.
“It’s been surreal really the last year and two months of just being comfortable on the golf course and just going out and trying to win,” Griffin said. “When you’re playing mini-tour events and you’re trying to grind for top 10 just to break even, just have enough money to maybe do a Monday qualifier, it’s not necessarily the easiest in terms.
“Now that I have this little bit of freedom, I can go out there and just try to win golf tournaments.”
LIV Golf — Dustin Johnson’s season of big LIV money will finish with another seven-figure check.
Johnson and his 4Aces GC team are one of four squads that will play in the finals of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf team championship Sunday, with $16 million — $4 million for each of the four players — awaiting the winning roster in the season-ending event at Trump National Doral.
Johnson’s team got there by beating Cleeks GC, 2-1, on Saturday, with the winning point coming when Pat Perez and Talor Gooch held off Graeme McDowell and Richard Bland in extra holes.
“For us, it’s all about the competition,” Johnson said. “We want to win the first championship in LIV Golf. It’s anybody’s ballgame. Every team up here obviously is playing well. There’s no favorites in my eyes.”
Also headed to the final: Cameron Smith and Punch GC, which topped Sergio Garcia and Firebirds GC 2-1; the Louis Oosthuizen-captained Stinger GC, which won when Oosthuizen beat Bryson DeChambeau in 23 holes to seal a 2-1 win over Crusher GC; and the Brooks Koepka-captained Smash GC, which beat Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Majesticks GC 3-0.
European — Jordan Smith will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Portugal Masters after staying atop the leaderboard for a third straight day. The Englishman shot 9-under 62 after eagling the par-4 15th hole and making eight birdies to go with a sole bogey at the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.