No one ever said that moving day in professional golf is confined to one direction. Up and down is moving, and it defined the proceedings Saturday during the third round of the Charles Schwab Challenge at crotchety old Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
Rookie Harry Hall might have played two of the messiest holes of his young life to suffer back-to-back double bogeys at the sixth and seventh holes, but the 25-year-old Englishman stiffened his resolve the rest of the day and—yes—got up and down at the last with a 10-foot par save to preserve a share of the lead he held outright the first two days. His 72 wasn’t a thing of beauty, but his position was as he enters Sunday’s final round tied with Adam Schenk at 10-under 200.
Making his 26th PGA Tour start, Hall became the first player to shoot over par in the third round in a non-major and finish with at least a share of the lead since Sam Burns in the 2021 Genesis Invitational. Ben Crenshaw in 1990 was the last player to shoot over par in the third round at Colonial and remain in front; he also had a 72 and then won the following day with a 66.
“Yeah, to be T-1 after today is pretty cool, especially after that front nine,” said Hall, who clawed back two strokes with birdies at 12 and 17. “It goes to show how hard the course is, and I did a good job battling it back and getting those two birdies on that back nine. To be in the final group again tomorrow is really cool.”
Schenk, 31, who finished second at the Valspar Championship but has missed the cut in four of his last five starts, mixed in four birdies against one bogey in a solid 67 and capped his round with a 16-foot birdie putt to forge his third career 54-hole lead. As he plucked the ball out of the hole, a fan dove into the pond left of the 18th green.
“It was good to see one drop,” Schenk said. “And then the guy that jumped in the pond was a little comic relief.
“We just did a really good job managing everything today,” the Indiana native added. “It was one of those days where right where we were looking was right where I actually hit it. It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s nice when it does.”
Harris English had three bogeys to offset three birdies, and his bogey at the home hole, after coming up short of the green, dropped him one behind the leaders. His even-par 70 left the four-time tour winner at nine under 201.
With an eagle-birdie start, Emiliano Grillo at one point found himself two strokes in front after Hall’s tumble, but then he hopped on the down escalator and ended up posting 72 that left him tied for fourth with Justin Suh at six-under 204. Suh, another rookie, got the moving part right as one of three players to shoot 66, the day’s low round, and rose 24 places. Viktor Hovland and Paul Haley II also shot 66, and Hovland gave himself an outside chance as one of four players at 205. He was joined by Kevin Streelman (68), David Lipsky (69) and Ben An (72).
Just 18 of the 72 players who made the cut broke par as greens dried out and players too often opted to play from somewhere other than the fairways, which made things kind of tough. Ask No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, last year’s runner-up, who climbed within three of the lead only to bogey three of his last five for 72 to fall six behind.
“That’s what we were talking about. It was like a mini major,” Schenk said. “It’s not a long course, but it’s held the test of time. It played hard. There’s no two ways about it. You really had to be in control from the fairway, and if you’re not, then you’re in a world of hurt because it’s just not going to stay on the green if it lands on the green from the rough.”
“I’ve never seen these greens here at Colonial this firm, but it’s awesome to see,” English said. “That’s kind of why you’re seeing the scores where they are. You could tell kind of in the practice rounds that it would get firm this week. Given the fact they’re going to tear them up after this tournament [Gil Hanse is overseeing a restoration], I think they’re going to let them go and let them bake out and see how hard it can play out here.”
Hall sounded like a man who had been through a bit of an ordeal but came out of it relatively unscathed, which might make him dangerous for the final round.
“I’m never going to stop fighting. I’m always going to keep trying,” he said. “Like I said yesterday, this game brings you new challenges every day, and I’m equipped to deal with them. And I think I showed that today, and I kept a lot of patience, and I kept to my game plan. It helps, after two double bogeys, I was still in the tournament. It left me with some hope. I managed to bring it back a little bit.”