Players jockeyed for position for two rounds of the Palmetto Championship at Congaree and went into Saturday — Moving Day — with a goal of being part of a Sunday showdown. The result: a tight leaderboard chasing Chesson Hadley for the final round of the PGA Tour’s “South Carolina Swing.”
Dustin Johnson, home-state guy and the world’s No. 1 player, figured to be the betting favorite. But his worksheet since his victory in the delayed-until-November Masters has not been impressive, and his Saturday performance was only so-so.
Here are a few things to know and what to look for Sunday:
How much money does the winner get?
The winner takes home $1.314 million from the $7.3 million purse. The champion also earns 500 FedEx Cup points.
How to watch? Sunday TV coverage
The Golf Channel begins the live television coverage from 1-3 p.m. and CBS takes over 3-6 p.m.
PGA Tour Live will have featured groups and holes 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Live radio coverage can be heard 1-6 p.m. on Sirius channel 92.
Weather forecast at PGA event in SC
The Sunday forecast calls for a 40% chance of showers and possible thunderstorms between noon and 2 p.m. with the chance of precipitation about 30% in the morning and at mid-afternoon.
Temperatures will be in the mid-80s with winds 5-10 mph out of the northeast.
Chesson Hadley leads. Can Dustin Johnson rally?
Although off form for five months, Dustin Johnson arrived at Congaree Golf Club in northern Jasper County a co-favorite to prevail and he did nothing to discourage his fans. Until Saturday.
With Brooks Koepka’s missing the cut, Johnson figured to be the overwhelming choice to win Sunday, and his start Saturday — catching second-round leader Chesson Hadley after two holes — suggested he’s ready to get on a roll. But he faltered, Hadley sparkled, and Johnson will be playing from behind again.
“I feel like I’m playing really well and I’ve got a lot of confidence in what I’m doing,” he said.
Four players were left on the course when play was stopped Saturday; they’ll finish first thing Sunday morning. Hadley and Johnson, in the final group, had reached the 18th tee. Harris English and Tain Lee were on the green preparing to putt.
Hadley, from Raleigh, was 14-under par through 17 holes Saturday when play was suspended. Johnson was 8-under par through 17 holes. English (-10) and Garrick Higgo (-8) round out the top four.
Who are these guys?
Two strangers to even the most ardent golf fans popped up on the leaderboard before slipping and one still could make a run at an improbable success story today.
Tain Lee earned a berth in the tournament in open qualifying and will attempt to become the first player since Corey Conners (2019 Valero Texas Open) to win a PGA Tour through open qualifying. Lee has made the cut in a Tour event for the third time Friday.
Wildo Nienaber, a South African, is making his PGA Tour debut after winning the Sunshine Tour’s Dimension Data Pro-Am in May. He led the field in driving distance the first two rounds with a robust 361.1-yard average off the tee. He fell back with a 74 Saturday.
Then, there is Garrick Higgo, who is making his second PGA Tour start. Though not well known in the U.S., he is ranked 54th in the world and owns three wins in only 27 starts on the European Tour.
Making the most of playing on a commissioner’s exemption, he posted rounds of 68-69-68_205 and will have a late tee time Sunday.
For those who like longshots, here’s your chance.
Does a change in attitude matter that much?
Case No. 1: Doc Redman, the former Clemson star who won the 2017 U.S. Amateur, threw in the towel and headed home after playing 10 holes in a U.S. Open Sectional qualifier on Monday. “I didn’t want to be there,” he said.
Refreshed after a day off at home Tuesday and little practice on an unfamiliar course on Wednesday, he opened with a first-round 65 and likes how a new outlook on golf has impacted him positively.
Case No. 2: Erik van Rooyen was last seen in the Palmetto State taking out his frustrations on a tee marker during the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.
“I think we all know what happened at Kiawah; I kind of lost my mind a little bit,” he said. “I took some time off to reflect and think about, not only what I did, but also just how I want to be a better golfer. ... (My playing better) really just change of putter, maybe change of attitude and hard work.”
A player to watch
He won’t win Sunday. In fact, he might be finishing his round before the leaders tee off. But Davis Thompson, making his professional debut, showed he’s a player to keep an eye on in the future.
A former University of Georgia star who moved to No. 1 in the world amateur rankings, Thompson began his pro career by going 5-over-par in his first eight holes. He played the next 28 holes in 7-under-par a climbed into the top 20 after two rounds.
Where is Congaree Golf Club?
Congaree Golf Club has a Ridgeland address, but the club is located in a rural setting in the northern part of Jasper County on Davant Road. That’s west of Beaufort and Hilton Head and north of Savannah.
The club is located a few miles off of Interstate 95 and can be reached off either exit 33 or exit 28.