Daniel Berger is in good position to pick up his first PGA Tour win on Sunday, carrying a three-stroke lead into the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Berger is at 10-under 200, three clear of veterans Phil Mickelson (nearly 46), Steve Stricker (49) and D.A. Points (39).
Seung-yul Noh, Colt Knost and Brooks Koepka are tied for sixth at 6 under par.
Berger isn’t in a completely foreign position. The Florida State product had a chance to win in his rookie season last year, ultimately losing to Padraig Harrington in a sudden-death playoff at The Honda Classic. He knows he needs to keep things as close to normal as possible on Sunday.
“I just have to be myself,” he said. “I feel like when you’re kind of in this position you can kind of try to do things that normally you wouldn’t do and just got to have fun out there and be myself and see what happens.”
Stricker is a 12-time PGA Tour winner, and he knows he’ll fight a similar battle.
“I’ll be nervous. It’s been awhile since I’ve been up there and have an opportunity to win,” Stricker said Saturday after shooting 4-under 66. “I’m excited for the challenge. That’s what we want to be out here for is to get into that position.”
The Wisconsin native hasn’t won since the 2012 Tournament of Champions. In the last couple of seasons, Stricker has waded his toes in semi-retirement, but he’s played more often this year in hopes of preventing ring rust.
As for Mickelson, he’s been in the thick of it several times this year, including twice on the West Coast Swing. On one hand, Mickelson may be best-equipped to win because he’s thinking toward next week’s U.S. Open and a chance to complete the career Grand Slam. However, he could also play distracted golf and lose an opportunity to win for the first time since the 2013 British Open.
“I feel like last week [at the Memorial Tournament], I found the ball-striking the way I wanted it,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll find it for tomorrow’s round because it’s only going to take a few more fairways hit and a few more birdie opportunities the way I’m putting to try to get this done.”
LISTEN TO OUR WEEKLY GOLF PODCAST! This week: Changing venues, sponsors signal changes to the business of golf