2021 RSM Classic Score: Talor Gooch holds Round 3 lead, looking for first Tour win
NS. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) – Talor Gooch is playing some of his best golf in the most extreme weather, even if he’s not in the best position at teeing off. Now, the former Oklahoma State player is just one round away from winning his first PGA Tour at the RSM Classic.
Gooch hit just six fairways on Saturday at Sea Island and still won a 3 under 67, extending the lead to three shots into the final round.
“Any day like that is going to be a tough tour,” says Gooch. “Honestly, what you’re trying to do out there is avoid the fantasies. It’s going to be easy today sometimes just being really conservative and really defensive. I’m content because sometimes I’m just being really conservative. may continue to be aggressive.”
He’s 16 under 196, three shots behind Ireland’s Seamus Power (67) and Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz (69). Both have won the PGA Tour. Power won the Barbasol championship this summer the same week as the British Open, so it didn’t come with an invite masters. A winning Sunday will.
Tom Hoge, also looking for his first win, had 67 and was alone in fourth, while Luke List (66), former RSM Classic winner Mackenzie Hughes of Canada (70) and Scott Stallings (69) are the others behind.
Gooch equalized with a short birdie putt on the 15th par-5 and a 12-foot birdie on the 17th par-3. He slipped from 25 feet on the final hole but could hardly be sad to hold himself together on a cloudy, chilly, windy day.
And he wasn’t surprised at all. He is playing as well as anyone in the fall yet to win, with four finishes out of 11 leading in his six leagues. He is currently on the cusp of breaking into the world top 50.
Gooch is not as well known as other former Oklahoma State players like Rickie Fowler, Viktor Hovland or Matthew Wolff. But he is working on it and on Sunday will try to become the seventh player in 12 years to make the RSM Classic his first tour title.
“I want to be the best and I want to compete with the best and I want to be the best golfer in the State of Oklahoma on tour,” he said. “Everybody talks about Matt Wolff and Viktor Hovland. It’s true. They’re incredible players. But it’s always an interesting thing that helps you work a little harder, a little more diligently and try to prove them wrong.”
Standing in front of Gooch were Power, who edged his way through the eagle at par-5 15 to highlight his round, and Munoz, the 18-hole leader who rallied from the bogeys to head to head at 11 and 12 to two- putt number 15 for birdie.
“It’s not easy,” Munoz added. “It was a bit more intense than I expected. I felt like I got off to a good start doing triples up and down over rough pits, extreme conditions, so I feel really good. I hit well. It was difficult to place the ball with the wind conditions, so I feel like I put a good round.”
Power figures he’s been away from Ireland for so long – the 34-year-old plays in East Tennessee state – for windy conditions are a big plus.
“I’ve been in the US for 15 years so I’m pretty picky about my weather,” he said. “So I’m not going to play like that very often but it’s fun. You do a lot of different shots. It’s not always possible to practice. You’re standing out there and the wind is blowing in your chest. I learned a lot growing up in it but honestly, I’d rather stay away from it if possible.”
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