With an opportunity to escape the rest of the field in front of them during the third round of the 2022 Tour Championship, neither Scotty Schaeffler nor Xander Shaveli could capitalize on that opportunity. They lost some ground on a field suddenly approaching the top of the leaderboard, and while that might be bad news for the amount of money they end up making on Sunday afternoon, it’s good news for fans looking for a close finish among the world’s best players. .
Round three ended early Saturday after two delays due to inclement weather, which means Scheffler (who is still ahead) and Schaeffel will play their final six holes starting at 9:45 a.m. ET on Sunday. They will do so while trying to finish the round they are currently under 1 even though the field average was at 67 at the end of play on Saturday. The worst score for the day up to that point was 1.
Fourteen golfers will have to finish Sunday morning, making the long-running championship finals. Players will be compensated handsomely for their extra time, though, with $58 million on the table and $18 million of it going to the winner after all four rounds. With the top of the board squeezed, the struggle for first prize and a truly life-changing amount of money (for most players in the field) should be massive.
Here’s a look at how things are with a few holes left to play in Round Three and what could unfold in Round Four.
1. Scotty Scheffler (-19 to 12): There is still plenty of time for Schaeffler to get back to the lower level in the third round when he finishes Sunday morning, but as it stands now, only Cameron Young (through 16 holes) and Corey Conners (finished) are worse than Scheffler’s equal score. He’s losing two strokes on the field now, and a racket that was cold in the third round still annoyed him. He might still win that thing and cap his four-win year with another, but he sure comes a lot closer than many (Scheffler included) could have imagined.
Who can catch the boss?
2. Xander Schauffele (-18 to 12): Schauffele is the obvious choice here because it has the most holes left, which means it also has more room for error. Also, no one who has played this golf course more than 20 times has ever been better than Chaveli. He’s working on a third round that looked like he’d be another gem, but he still made a lot of birdies. The last – and perhaps most obvious – reason that Schauffele is most likely to catch Scheffler is that he is the closest to him and in fact could already be ahead by the time the final round begins on Sunday.
3 – Sungjae M (-16 to 14)
4 – Rory McIlroy (-15 to 16): McIlroy also dominates East Lake and is worth a look here considering the situation he’s in without even hitting the driver all that well so far this week (he’s hit big time with his opening triple on Thursday). If he clicks this on Sunday, he can shoot 63.
T5. John Ram (-14 to 13)
T5. Patrick Cantlay (-14 to 13)
T5. Justin Thomas (-14 to 17): JT mentioned after Saturday how the top players have given him some much-needed help so far, and if they continue to do so, he will have a chance of winning on Sunday. If not, it would be very difficult for anyone outside the top two or three to claim the first prize of $18 million.
This gives a better context for how close the tournament is with a day left than it did on Friday afternoon. Honorable Mention: Shaveli played the fourth hole on Friday through the third hole on Saturday (18 holes total) on 60 strokes.
A handful of golfers are in a position to match or even surpass their career earnings by ending the lights on Sunday. Here’s a look at a few golfers who probably won’t win it all but might win the $6.5 million second prize or the $5 million third prize and come close to achieving the same thing in a single course as they have over the course of an entire PGA Tour career.
Sepp Straka (T5): $7.9 million
Tom Hoge (T10): $11.4 million
JT Boston (15): $10.3 million
2022 Tour Championship Updated odds and picks
- Scotty Scheffler: +105
- Xander Shaveli: +200
- Sungjae Im: +900
- Rory McIlroy: +1000
- John Ram: +2200
- Patrick Cantlay: +3500
- Justin Thomas: +3500
In the end, it’s more likely that Schaeffler or Shaveli will win this championship, and I’ve been thinking that since Thursday. However, if you want a good number, consider Thomas at 35-1 because he’s about to make a birdie on the 18th hole when he finishes his third round on Sunday morning. Cantlay at 35-1 was also intriguing as he leads the field this week in earning strikes from the tee to the green and still has five holes to play in his third round. He’s only five back from the lead, and if he’s had one of those days where he’s been making everything he looks, he can definitely run to Scheffler and Schauffele over the course of his last 23 holes.
“Friendly food junkie. Lifelong introvert. Student. Avid coffee scholar. Unapologetic travel specialist. Zombie buff.”