India's Arjun Atwal squandered early momentum in the third round, registering a mediocre even-par 71 score to slip to tied 62nd at the 3M Open golf tournament here. Two chip-in birdies gave Atwal the momentum he needed at the start of the third round, but was unable to keep it going. He began with a flourish with three birdies in his first six holes on the back side of the course, but he not only gave away those gains on 18th, first and third, but was also unable to get any more birdies to slip from from T-51 to T-62 on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Michael Thompson and Richy Werenski, playing together in the third round, shot 68 each and will once again play the final round together. The duo is tied at 15-under at the TPC Twin Cities. Atwal hit 11 of the 18 greens in regulation while finishing even for the day and two-under for the tournament. Starting from the 10th, Atwal hit a 300 yard drive on the 593-yard par-5 12th and then chipped to two feet, which he rolled for one-putt birdie. Atwal missed the green on his first shot on the 228-yard par-3 fourth but chipped in from 13 yards for a birdie to get to two-under for the round.
On the 451-yard par-4 15th hole, after a drive to the left rough, Atwal chipped in his third to get to three-under for the round. There were no more birdies thereafter. On 18th, he went into water and ended with a bogey and on the 416-yard par-4 first, Atwal missed his par putt from 5 feet, finishing with a 3-putt bogey. A third bogey came on the 501-yard par-4 third despite a 306 yard drive. Atwal chipped his third shot to nine feet, from where he two-putted for a third bogey.
Werenski, who fell three shots behind Thompson at one stage, birdied three of the last four holes on Saturday to erase a four-stroke deficit and catch up with Thompson for a share of the lead. Thompson, four-under through 12 including a hat-trick from fifth to seventh, dropped a shot on 17th for his 68. Charl Schwartzel carded 66 in the third round, pulling even with Tony Finau (69) for third place at 13-under, while Max Homa (64) rose well to fifth at 12-under.
A win for either Thompson or Werenski will earn them a spot into next week's 2020 WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational. Also the top two players (not otherwise exempt) in the top 10 and ties will be invited to the 2020 US Open. Thompson has made just two bogeys through the first three rounds, best for any player in the field, while Werenski has held at least a share of the lead after each round this week. Defending champion Matthew Wolff, T-13 at 10-under, is hoping to become the first player to win his first two PGA TOUR titles at the same event since Daniel Berger won back-to-back in Memphis (2016 and 2017).