Talor Gooch rolled in a birdie bomb at the penultimate hole on Saturday to grab a one-stroke lead over Joaquin Niemann heading into the final round of the LIV Golf Invitational Boston.
America’s Gooch, who had top-10 finishes in the first three events of the LIV Golf Series, had six birdies and a bogey in his five-under-par 65 at International Golf Club and led the 48-man field on 12 under.
Niemann, one of six new recruits for this week’s tournament – a group led by second-ranked Open champion Cameron Smith – also had six birdies and a bogey in a 65 that put him 11 under.
“It was an unbelievable round,” said Chile’s Niemann, who said on Friday he had “a blast” playing his debut round in the series that promises “Golf, but louder” for what it insists will be a new wave of fans.
South Africans Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen are both on seven under after carding rounds of 66 and 67 respectively on Saturday, along with Smith, who fired a one-under-par 69 that featured a double bogey and two bogeys.
The 29-year-old Aussie closed on a high note with an eagle at the 18th, set up by a second shot over a stand of trees straight toward the flag.
Gooch used a methodical approach as he shook off an opening bogey to work his way to the lead.
“Out here it’s about hitting the fairways,” Gooch said. “I know for me I’m going to score better from the fairways. If that means laying back, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Gooch will be vying to become the first US winner of a LIV Golf event. Former world No 1 Dustin Johnson was also poised to strike for that title after a seven-under-par 63 that put him third on 10 under.
© Agence France-Presse