Skip to main content

Lee shares CJ Cup lead with Thomas after crazy final-hole swing

Getty Images

In a crazy turn of events on Nine Bridges' 18th hole Saturday, Danny Lee grabbed a share of the 54-hole lead with Justin Thomas at the CJ Cup. Here’s what happened in Round 3 on Jeju Island:

Leaderboard: Justin Thomas (-15), Danny Lee (-15), Cameron Smith (-12), Wyndham Clark (-11), Jordan Spieth (-11), Byeong Hun An (-10)

What it means: If Sunday's finish is anything like Saturday's closing moments then we're in for quite a treat. Thomas held a three-shot lead as he prepared to his his second shot into the par-5 18th hole, looking for his fourth par-5 birdie on Day 3. But Thomas found the water and made bogey while Lee sunk a lengthy eagle putt from the collection area left of the green.

As a result, Thomas and Lee will enter the final round tied for the lead. Earlier in the day, Thomas had looked to be running away with the tournament, especially after Lee's double bogey at No. 10 and a disastrous triple from An, the third member of the final threesome, at the par-4 11th. But Lee played his last eight holes in 4 under to draw even with Thomas. An also rinsed his tee ball at the last, making double and settling for a third-round 73.

Rounds of the day: U.S. Presidents Cup hopefuls Collin Morikawa and Gary Woodland each shot 7-under 65 to climb to 9 under through 54 holes. Morikawa was 8 under through 14 holes before playing his final four in 1 over with a bogey at the par-5 18th. Woodland went bogey-free with five back-nine birdies.


CJ Cup: Full-field scores | Full coverage


Best of the rest: Ian Poulter, who skipped his title defense last week at the Houston Open, made two eagles on the back nine as part of a 6-under 66, which lifted Poulter into a share of seventh at 9 under. Clark used four birdies in a five-hole span beginning at No. 9 to card 67 and climb into the top 5.

Biggest disappointment: It was fun while it lasted. Viktor Hovland’s Tour-record streak of consecutive sub-70 rounds ended at 19 with a third-round 74.

Main storyline entering Sunday: Despite Thomas’ watery finish, history still bolsters Thomas’ chances of picking up career PGA Tour win No. 11 on Sunday. Not only has Thomas converted seven of his nine career 54-hole leads or co-leads on Tour into victories, but he also has owned the Asian Swing since 2013, racking up three wins and nearly 500 more FedExCup points than the next closest player, Hideki Matsuyama. Yet Lee's late heroics give him a much better chance at his second career Tour title, first since the 2015 Greenbrier Classic.

Shot of the day: Lee's eagle make was crucial, but Spieth also saved his best for last, hitting 3-wood nearly 270 yards to set up a closing two-putt birdie. Spieth shot 2-under 70.

Quote of the day: "As for the wind, I think I took an extra one-and-a-half club [at 18]. Having to play into the wind, I didn’t feel like I could drive the ball to the left of the fairway. In my practice rounds—I think I played that hole about five times—I missed the fairway all five times, so instead I used a 3-wood off the tee to generate a lower shot. From the fairway, I had about 270 yards to the pin with wind coming from the front. To be honest I thought I missed the green, but luckily the ball stopped after passing a slight upward slope on the left of the green. As for that putt, frankly I wasn’t aiming for the hole. I was just trying to get the ball to roll down the slope as slowly as possible, but it kept going." – Lee, describing his closing eagle