Koepka’s coronation? Here are 3 things you missed from Round 3 at the CJ Cup

October 20, 2018

Brooks Koepka desperately wants that No. 1 world ranking. He’s in good position to claim it. While those of you in the U.S. were likely sound asleep, plenty of action was taking place in South Korea at the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Here are three things you need to know — starting with the man in the lead.

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka leads the CJ Cup by four.
Getty Images

1. Brooks is here

Brooks Koepka surged into contention with a Friday 65. His follow-up act on Saturday, a 5-under 67, gapped the field. He holds a four-shot lead. Koepka kept a clean card in his third round, making his five birdies in the final 10 holes.

That included a high, soft driver at the reachable 14th:

At well as a heat-seeker at No. 17:

The world rankings math is endlessly complex, but this week it’s simple: If Koepka wins, he takes the crown from buddy Dustin Johnson. That coup is going well so far: Koepka holds the largest 54-hole lead of his career.

2. Poulter joins the party

Englishman Ian Poulter has gotten one shot better each day in Korea, shooting 70 Thursday, 69 Friday and four-under 68 on Saturday to climb into second place. He’ll hope to spoil Koepka’s coronation. Like Koepka, he took advantage of his back nine. After an even-par 36 going out, Poulter birdied 12, then jarred this at 15:

He very nearly holed his approach at No. 16, firing in this dart:

He’s four shots back. But don’t count out Ian Poulter.

3. The chase pack

Koepka certainly isn’t known to crack under Sunday pressure, but there’s a strong contingent of Tour stars who will try to track him down. Scott Piercy ditched his head-turning cold-weather cap from the first two rounds but needed a holed bunker shot at 17 and birdie at 18 to manage even-par 72. He joins Poulter in second place, four shots back.

Rafa Cabrera Bello leads the group at eight under after a third-round 65, tied for the low score of the day. Cameron Smith, Jamie Lovemark, Pat Perez, Gary Woodland and Chez Reavie also share fourth place.

The action continues Sunday on Jeju Island. Here’s how to watch.