Early on, it was de Jonge who took control. Then Moore got his chance atop the leaderboard. Finally Blixt, who bogeyed three of his first 10 holes, heated up late with a furious run of birdies.
When the dust settled in Las Vegas, that trio had racked up a total of 21 birdies and were knotted at 19 under, sharing the lead with 18 holes to play at TPC Summerlin.
Blixt became the late-day story as he birdied holes 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 then capped the afternoon with a 28-footer for birdie on the par-4 closing hole. The Swede then watched his two playing competitors miss shorter birdie bids to keep the group in a three-way tie for the lead.
Blixt, a rookie making just his 18th career start on the PGA TOUR, is looking to join John Huh and Ted Potter Jr. as the only rookie winners this season. His best mark thus far was a tie for third in May at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
De Jonge, a veteran with 16 top 10s but no victories, is looking to follow Kevin Na’s path from 2011. Na traveled to Vegas with more than 200 starts and 28 top 10s and left with his first PGA TOUR victory. De Jonge is making his 145th start with a trio of third-place finishes as his best showings.
Moore’s lone TOUR victory came in a playoff at the 2009 Wyndham Championship. The former U.S. Amateur Champion is in great form, finishing the FedExCup Playoffs with back-to-back-to-back top-10 finishes including a tie for third at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
The three leaders have a five-shot cushion over Jimmy Walker and Tim Herron, who are tied for fourth at 14 under. Two more back are Colt Knost, Jason Day, Jason Bohn and Russell Knox.
A total of 20 players are at 10 under or better. Na, the defending champion, is tied for 21st at 9 under.
- Brendon de Jonge
- Ryan Moore