On multiple occasions this season, a relatively unknown player has given himself a legitimate chance at a breakthrough victory through 54 holes. Last week it was Kelly Kraft at The Greenbrier, and the week before that Mexico's Abraham Ancer held a share of the 54-hole lead at the Quicken Loans National. Then there was Andrew Putnam, who had the unfortunate task of going up against Dustin Johnson at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in the final round.
What all three had in common is that Sunday didn't go quite as planned, leaving them empty-handed walking off the 72nd green. Michael Kim, another young, under-the-radar player, hopes to buck that trend this week at the John Deere Classic, and has given himself a good chance at doing so. After opening with rounds of 63 and 64, Kim fired a third-round seven-under 64 at TPC Deere Run on Saturday despite two suspensions of play due to inclement weather. It puts him 22-under 191, extending his lead to five heading into the final round.
Kim, who turned 25 on Saturday, has finished in the top 10 just once in 83 starts on the PGA Tour, that result coming in October of 2016, when he opened his season with a T-3 at the Safeway Open. Since then the 2013 Haskins Award winner has finished no better than T-12 (2017 Houston Open), and he's recently missed five of his last six cuts. It's been a below average year overall for Kim, but he could make it a memorable one with one more solid round on Sunday.
Kim's closest pursuer is Bronson Burgoon, a former standout at Texas A&M who hasn't found much success in his limited time on the PGA Tour. Burgoon vaulted up the leader board on Friday with a nine-under 62, then backed it up with a five-under 66 on Saturday and now finds himself in solo second at 17-under 196.
Matt Jones' five-under 66 has him in solo third at 16-under 197. He's in search of his second victory on tour, the last coming in miraculous, walk-off fashion at the 2014 Houston Open.
After struggling in the final round at The Greenbrier and eventually tying for fifth, Harold Varner III has put himself in contention once again, posting a five-under 66. He's in solo fourth at 15-under 198, seven back.
Andres Romero, who is making just his second start on tour this season, carded a seven-under 64 to get to 14-under 199. He's joined by Sam Ryder, who shot a six-under 65.