2023 Sanderson Farms: Ben Griffin Aims for First PGA Tour Win in Final Round



2023 Sanderson Farms: Ben Griffin Aims for First PGA Tour Win in Final Round

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Ben Griffin made a significant move towards his first PGA Tour victory after carding a bogey-free 6-under 66 on Saturday, giving him a three-shot lead in the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Griffin showcased his resilience by getting up-and-down for par on his final three holes, including a crucial bunker shot on the 18th green. His strong performance kept him ahead of Carl Yuan, who posted a 67.

For Griffin, a win at the Sanderson Farms Championship could secure a coveted spot in the Masters, an opportunity to start the year at Kapalua for The Sentry, and potentially position him as a frontrunner for PGA Tour rookie of the year.

Having reached a remarkable 20-under 296, Griffin hasn’t recorded a bogey in his last 37 holes, despite facing some challenging moments at the Country Club of Jackson. He missed four greens and hit only seven fairways, but his scrambling ability proved crucial.

Griffin has already secured his PGA Tour card for the next year, but a victory here would greatly bolster his prospects for 2024 and the $20 million tournaments.

Carl Yuan, currently ranked 151st in the FedEx Cup, is also eyeing a significant leap in status for next year. The top 125 players after the FedEx Cup Fall secure full status for 2024, and with five tournaments remaining after this week, the pressure is on.

Close behind Yuan are Scott Stallings (No. 130), Henrik Norlander (No. 142), and Luke List (No. 119), all tied for third place, trailing by four shots.

Stallings impressed with a stellar 65 in the third round, highlighted by a 50-foot pitch that he sank for an eagle on the 15th hole. He credited Wesley Bryan for inspiring the shot.

Norlander and List each posted a solid 68.

Ludvig Aberg of Sweden, fresh from his Ryder Cup debut in Italy, surged late in his round with five birdies over the last eight holes, closing the gap to just six shots.

Although Aberg is currently ranked 136th, his card is secure for 2024 due to his No. 1 ranking in the PGA Tour University. Achieving a spot in the top 125 would also earn him a place in The Players Championship.

Griffin, sensing favorable conditions on the course, got off to a strong start. He birdied the second hole with a tricky wedge shot from the Bermuda rough and two-putted for birdie on the par-5 third hole from 35 feet. He continued his momentum with more birdies, including a 25-foot putt on the 13th hole.

Griffin’s rookie year had previously offered him a chance to win the Bermuda Championship, but he ended up tying for third after late-game developments.

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