GREENSBORO, N.C. — Just two months after Billy Horschel opened with an 84 at the Memorial and said through tears during his post-round press conference that his confidence “is the lowest it’s been in my entire career,” Horschel grabbed a share of the 54-hole lead at the Wyndham Championship.
One day after shooting 62 at Sedgefield Country Club, the low round of his career, Horschel backed it up with a bogey-free 7-under 63 on Saturday to tie Lucas Glover at 18-under 192. With time to kill at the end of the broadcast window, CBS re-aired the clip of Horschel’s emotional press conference, which included him saying, “I’m close.”
“That interview, that moment, as I’ve talked about a while, it was sort of like a release. I don’t fully understand why it happened then and there, because I had shared some of that with my team and my family before leading up to that, but right then and there it just happened,” he said. “From that moment I’ve been in a better head space, the game’s been going in the right direction since then.”
It doesn’t hurt that the putts have been dropping like old times. Last week, Horschel switched to an Odyssey putter and it’s been a game-changer this week. He ranks first in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting, gaining more than nine strokes on the greens and registered seventh straight under-par round.
“Just felt like needed a new look,” he said. “We sort of messed around with a Ping putter earlier this week and we thought we were going to use that, but I had a little hard time with longer putts, judging the speed with it, so we went back to this Odyssey and it’s working well.”
Billy Horschel sets to putt on the 8th green during the third round of the Wyndham Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports
Indeed, it is. Horschel, the 2014 FedEx Cup champion has qualified for the playoffs in each of the last 10 seasons but he entered the week at No. 116 in the point standings. He enters the final round projected to jump 63 spots and move on to Memphis next week, but he can’t finish worse than a two-way tie for second. The way he’s rolling the rock, his eighth win of his career is well within his sights.
“I’m happy where my game is, I’m happy where things are trending, I’m happy where mentally I’m heading,” he said. “So hopefully it’s just another day of moving forward, it’s another steppingstone. I haven’t been here in a while, but I’m prepared for whatever, however I may feel, whatever comes tomorrow.”
Here are four more things to know from the third round of the Wyndham Championship.
Glover in a groove
Lucas Glover shot his low round of the year, an 8-under 62, to tie for the 54-hole lead. He hit every fairway and 17 of 18 greens en route to making birdie on half the holes on Saturday.
“When my irons are sharp, I seem to be able to make a lot of birdies,” said Glover, who leads the field in Strokes Gained: Approach and proximity. “I think you try to attack this place a little too aggressive and miss some fairways, it can bite you. I learned that quite a while ago. I think it’s just a ‘fairways first’ mentality, and then if you get some good numbers and hit it close, you’ve got a good chance to make some birdies.”
It also helps that Glover, who has suffered from the yips for several years, is putting better of late since switching to a long putter with a split-handed grip.
“I was at the end of my rope,” said Glover, who has gained more than a stroke on the field on the greens in all three rounds.
The 43-year-old former U.S. Open winner notched his 17th consecutive par-or-better round on Tour and is a cumulative 78-under in his last five starts.
Glover is making his 19th appearance at the Wyndham Championship and his 62 isn’t even his low round here – he shot 61 in 2016. The South Carolina native recalled spending summers here during his childhood.
“I remember the swimming pool,” he said. “It was cool, they had a high dive so it was fun.”
And he expects Sunday, where he can secure a berth in the FedEx Cup Playoffs as long as he finishes runner-up or better and potentially claim his fifth Tour title, to be another fun birdie fest.
“Be aggressive,” he said of his game plan. “Everybody’s going to come out guns a-blazing tomorrow.”
Henley’s unfinished business
Russell Henley birdied his final two holes and shot 65 on Saturday and yet the 36-hole leader finds himself trailing Horschel and Glover by a stroke heading into the final round. However, Henley, who improved to 17-under 193, said he’s more comfortable being the chaser on Sunday.
“I was leading by six in Mexico this last fall, that was tough to sleep. I don’t recommend a six-shot lead, still have to get some sleep. I think I’ll sleep pretty good tonight,” he said.
Henley held a three-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Wyndham Championship in 2021 and couldn’t close the deal, missing a six-man playoff by one stroke. He’s recorded a top-10 finish here the last three years and knows what it’s going to take to get the job done this time.
“You’re going to get lapped if you’re just playing for par out here,” he said.
Kim goes low
Michael Kim says he wasn’t even thinking about the playoffs this week, even though it’s do-or-die time to make them.
“I knew I was going to need a top-3 finish,” he explained. “Those are pretty hard to come by.”
But punching his ticket to Memphis for next week’s playoffs could creep into his mind on Sunday after he shot the low round of the day, an 8-under 62.
Kim began with a 3-putt bogey, charging his 18-foot birdie putt 8 feet past the hole. It turned out to be his lone bogey of the round. He finished with four birdies in his final six holes, including knocking his approach from 210 yards to 2 feet at the difficult 14th.
“After that, I really felt like I was in a good groove,” Kim said.
Kim birdied half the holes at Sedgefield on Saturday. The playoffs seemed like a pipe dream after he opened with a score of 2-over 72. In fact, he said he started looking at flights home to Dallas on Friday, anticipating he’d miss the cut. But he bounced back with 65 to make the cut.
“Pretty happy to make the weekend,” he said. “Felt like I was playing with house money.”
Kim ranked third in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee in the third round and first in SG: Tee to Green and SG: Approach the Green. This week, he switched from the Callaway Rogue to the Callaway Paradigm and it has helped him hit 11 of 14 fairways in the third round, up from six in the opening round.
“The one I’ve been using the entire year (Rogue) felt like it was drawing a little bit too much, so I changed to a different head and it’s been going well this week,” he said.
Kim had vaulted to No. 69 in the season-long points standings when he finished his round, but by the end of the day he had dropped to sixth at 11 under and had fallen to No. 80.
Bryan’s ridiculous birdie
Wesley Bryan produced a candidate for SportsCenter’s “Play of the Days” with this Hail Mary effort from over the 17th green at Sedgefield CC on Saturday. Standing sideways and aiming left of the hole and using the toe of his putter, Bryan hit his ball through the rough and on to the putting surface. Good thing the cup got in the way. Check out the video below. Bryan looks as dumb-founded as we do. Let’s not dwell on the snowman Bryan made at 18, which might have included a candidate or two for the “Not-Top-10 Plays of the Day.”