Power surges to share of Bermuda lead, certain to catch the eye of Donald

Bernie McGuire
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Seamus Power (Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images)

Seamus Power is sure to catch the eye of European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald as he heads into the final round sharing the lead at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.

Power got his feet wet in removing his shoes and socks playing a shot to save par at the first and looked set to whet the collective thirst of a large Irish following in posting a third straight score of 65 to finish a group ahead of American-born Tour rookie Ben Griffin, who birdied the last in signing for a 66 to tie the Irishman at the top of the board in just his eighth PGA Tour event.

Power and Griffin set a new 54 hole tournament record with 18-under 195 (previous record was 17-under 196 – Harry Higgs/2019, Taylor Pendrith 2021) and both Power and Griffin are enjoying a third round lead for the first time.

Power, sporting quite visible protective sunscreen on his face, found the edge of a water hazard at the first but saved par on route to playing 17 blemish-free holes that included eight birdies, with the only hiccup being a double-bogey at the ‘unlucky’ 13th.

At World No. 48 and the highest world ranked in the field, Power also enjoys the distinction of being the most-recent winner on the PGA Tour albeit it being some 15-months ago in capturing his maiden PGA Tour event at the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky.

And Power, who clearly has exhibited his stature over the three days, also has the distinction of having contested all four majors of season 2022, something that most in the Bermuda field cannot boast.

Not that Power is into boasting of course, but he now is the player to beat heading into the final round of the sixth event of the new 2022/23 wrap-around schedule.

“Today was how I remember this course plays, knowing you have to make your score on the first 11 or 12 holes, as the remainder of the round was going to be tough,” he said.

“So, I was able to do that making some putts which I managed to do.  It was a funny start as I was on the edge of the hazard at the first, taking my shoes off but managed to get up-and-down to make par and kind of got me into the round.

“I was able to make four birdies in a row and overall there was a lot of good stuff and hopefully more of the same tomorrow.”

Sunshine bathed the Port Royal course for the first time in the tournament, helping dry the course but the wind remained relentless, whipping off the Atlantic Ocean and testing the patience of those tackling the holiday golfing venue.

The highlight of Power’s round was for a third day running in the $6m event, walking off the spectacular clifftop par-3 16th hole with a birdie, again further delighting his huge Irish following.

Power had earlier stormed out of the gate on golf’s traditional moving day in a super manner with four birdies in succession from the second hole taking him to 16-under.

If there was a par save of his round, it was Power’s second shot from a greenside bunker and into the wind at the par-3 eighth hole and getting up-and-down from some 15-feet for par.

Power picked-up further birdies at the ninth and 11th holes, where he played a superb shot from the rough into the green. He was sat on his backside at 13 but then for a third day running he birdied the signature par-3 16th hole, landing his tee-shot into a strong left to right wind off the ocean well below to some 30-feet right of the flag and rolling-in the birdie putt.

He then picked-up the eighth birdie of his round at the par-5 17th for a second time in three rounds ahead of two-putting the last for par, and with his score of 65 impressively the lowest round on day three.

“It was a fun day to play golf but then it was a day you had to trust the wind what it was going to do, and while I had a double-bogey the conditions do make for you focussing a lot more, and that’s what I was trying to think,” added Power.

And when asked if he was also trying to catch the European team selection eye of Donald, who was also contesting the Bermuda event, Power said: “That’s why we play this game as everyone wants to win.  Winning as I did a year-and-a-half ago was an unbelievable thing and you want to put yourself in that position again.

“So yeah, I’ve put myself in a great spot and I know saying that if I play good golf all those other things will take care of themselves but I’m looking forward to having fun out there tomorrow and see what happens.”

For those golfing purists Power hit 14 fairways and a similar number of greens in regulation as he has emerged as favourite for a second PGA Tour success.

And if Power does capture the Bermuda title it will be back-to-back Irish victories on the PGA Tour after Rory McIlroy successfully defended last week’s CJ Cup in South Carolina.

Now when is the last time that happened on the PGA Tour?

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