Wesley Bryan birdies final hole for a 1-shot lead heading into final round in Dominican Republic

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic (AP) — Wesley Bryan finished a wild round of birdies and bogeys with one last birdie Saturday to break a tie with a 2-under 70, giving him a one-shot lead over Kevin Tway going into the last round of the suddenly wide-open Corales Puntacana Championship.

Bryan opened the tournament with a 63 and has a chance to become only the second player to go wire-to-wire on the PGA Tour this year. It just didn't feel that way.

Bryan lost the lead on the third hole with a two-shot swing — Bryan made bogey, Justin Lower made birdie — and fell two shots behind at one point until three birdies over a four-hole stretch around the turn on the Corales course to regain the lead at wind-swept Puntacana Resort.

By the end of the round, Bryan had only six pars to go along with seven birdies and five bogeys. The last birdie put him at 17-under 199, tying the 54-hole tournament record.

“The birdie at the last was nice. It was nice to see a putt drop,” Bryan said. “I missed a lot of really short putts — there's really no hiding it. But I felt like right when it was starting to teeter, I would make a nice putt. And the one on the last was nice.”

Tway had a 66 and was one shot behind, with Lower (71) and Taylor Pendrith of Canada (65) another shot behind.

Bryan had a one-shot lead over Lower at the start, and the next player was three shots further back. The day ended with 10 players separated by four shots going into the final round, a group that includes Phoenix Open runner-up Charley Hoffman and Bill Haas, each with a 69.

Tway got into the mix by using his Oklahoma roots to manage the wind and steadily move up the leaderboard. He was 7 under for his round through 12 holes and at one point had the lead until his streak of 50 straight holes without a bogey this week ended on the par-4 15th.

Maybe that was just as well by the sound of it.

“It's in the back of your mind like, ‘Hey, haven’t made a bogey yet’ and every time you have an 8-footer you’re kind of thinking,” Tway said. “Yeah, I figured I was going to make one bogey, so it was kind of good to get it out of the way so I'm not thinking about it tomorrow.”

Tway's only other victory was the Safeway Open in California in September 2018. Bryan's only PGA Tour victory was this week, only it was at Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage, now a signature $20 million event.

The most experience is sitting three shots behind — Billy Horschel, a former FedEx Cup champion, who shot a 66.

The winner gets into the PGA Championship, but not the Masters because it is held opposite a signature event. But he also would get in the other three $20 million signature events for the rest of the season, so plenty is at stake for everyone.

“Excited to just get the nerves flowing a little bit tomorrow and have a chance to win a golf tournament,” Bryan said. “Got a good opportunity for that tomorrow.”

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