Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Bhatia, Rai atop tight leaderboard in Detroit

By admin Jul7,2024

Jun 29, 2024, 08:40 PM ET

DETROIT — Akshay Bhatia and Aaron Rai each shot 4-under 68 on Saturday to reach 17 under through three rounds and share the lead for the second straight day at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Cam Davis (66) and Cameron Young (67) were a shot back at soggy and windy Detroit Golf Club. Sam Stevens (66) and Erik van Rooyen (68) were another stroke back.

Amateur Luke Clanton (65), Min Woo Lee (66) and Joel Dahmen (68) were three shots behind the leaders, entering the final round Sunday.

The third round started a couple of hours later than scheduled and threesomes went off both the front and back nine because more than an inch of rain soaked the course, leaving standing water in the fairways and large puddles in areas of the rough.

The soggy conditions allowed players to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairways. Players did not get relief from the wind that gusted up to 25 mph.

Rai had a tiebreaking birdie on the par-3 11th and held a one-shot lead until he had his first bogey of the tournament on the par-3 15th, missing a 12-foot putt to fall back into a tie.

Bhatia, the only player in the field without a bogey, followed with a 7-foot putt for par on the same hole.

While Bhatia and Rai slowed down as the sun started to set and shadows blanketed the course, Young surged into a three-way tie at the par-5 17th with his third birdie in four holes.

Young shot a 59 last Saturday at the Travelers Championship, the first player to pull off that feat since Scottie Scheffler did it during the 2020 FedExCup Playoffs.

Davis, who won the Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2021 at 18 under, made it a four-way tie atop the leaderboard with a slow-rolling 8-footer to close with his fourth birdie in five holes.

Bhatia and Rai both birdied 17, turning a four-way tie into a two-way at 17 under and they both parred the final hole.

Will Zalatoris, who entered the tournament ranked No. 44, withdrew because of a back injury after playing eight holes in 3 over Saturday.


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