WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — David Puig is the youngest golfer competing this week at LIV Greenbrier on the Old White Course.
To claim his first professional victory Sunday, the 21-year-old Puig will have to fend off Matthew Wolff — the fourth youngest golfer on the LIV circuit at 24.
Puig followed up his opening-round 63 with a 5-under par 65 on a scorching Saturday afternoon.
Wolff, who tied the low round in LIV history Friday with a 61, came back with a 3-under 67.
Both players enter Sunday’s final round at 12-under par.
“I get nervous all the time, but I think it’s a good thing to have nerves if you can control them because that means you care,” Puig said. “Looking forward to having nerves tomorrow, and hopefully take good care of them, and I’ll try obviously to win my first pro event. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll know I’ll give it all.”
Puig and Wolff were in the same group and played with Harold Varner III. The trio began on No. 1, and Puig was bogey free until the 13th hole when he dropped his only shot of the round. Puig recorded birdies at the par-3 third hole, the par-5 12th and 17th holes and a trio of par 4s — holes No. 4, 10 and 11.
“I don’t smile much, or at least that’s what they say,” Puig said. “But I’m having a lot of fun.”
Wolff’s birdies came on the fourth, sixth, 10th, 14th and 17th holes. All except No. 17 are par 4s. His bogeys were on the par-4 5th and one of the venue’s more challenging holes — the par-4 16th.
“He obviously got off to a pretty hot start and was charging up the leaderboard pretty early,” Wolff said of Puig. “I was more just steady, made a lot of pars and stuff. I’m super happy for him. I know he works hard and it’s cool to see him playing well, but I still want to beat him, no doubt. I’m sure he feels the same way. Tomorrow is going to be a lot of fun, and I’m going to give it my all, and we’ll see what happens.”
There was no bogey Saturday for DeChambeau, who worked his way well into contention with a round of 9-under 61 — matching Wolff’s score from Friday.
“If I can drive it well, I have plenty of opportunities out there,” DeChambeau said. “Got to hit some good wedge shots, make a few putts, stick to the process, and let the job get done the way it’s going to.”
DeChambeau, tied with Richard Bland and Talor Gooch for third place at 11-under par, began on the par-3 8th. After making two pars to start his round, he birdied three straight holes to start the back nine. DeChambeau also made a birdie on the 14th, 17th and 18th holes, allowing him to shoot a 30 on the back.
DeChambeau closed strong as well, making birdie at No. 1, 4 and on his final hole of the day at 7. Recently, he has been utilizing a new driver that he’s taken a liking to.
“It’s probably performed the best I’ve ever had in the past five years in professional golf — ever since 2018 when I was striping it early in the year,” DeChambeau said.
Bland fired a bogey-free 63 Saturday that included four straight birdies on holes six through nine.
Gooch, winner of three of LIV’s last six events, followed his opening round 65 with a bogey-free 64. Although he never carded consecutive birdies, Gooch totaled three on both the front and back nine to move to within a shot of the lead.
Varner III finds himself in a four-way tie for sixth with Brendan Steele, Mito Pereira and Branden Grace.
Pereira’s Saturday round of 62 was bested by only DeChambeau, while Steele finished with a 63 that included an eagle on No. 17.
At 9-under par and three back of the lead are Sebastian Munoz, Dean Burmester and Charles Howell III.
Cam Smith is one of five golfers at 7-under after shooting just that Saturday following his opening round of 70.
Five-time major champion Brooks Koepka failed to make a move Saturday and played the 14th and 15th holes in 3-over par during his round of 70 that leaves him at 5-under par. Koepka is one of nine golfers at 5-under, a group that also includes Bubba Watson.
Among other notable names in the field, Dustin Johnson struggled Saturday with a 73 and is at 2-under par, while Phil Mickelson’s 71 leaves him at 3-under par.
Puig, a member of Team Torque, is playing for more than the individual crown Sunday. One of 12 squads vying for the team championship, Torque has a four-shot lead in the team standings at 34-under par. In addition to Puig, Torque is comprised of Joaquin Niemann, Mito Pereira and Sebastian Munoz, and has won three of LIV’s nine events this season, including two of the most recent three ahead of play at Old White.
“We’re a good group of guys, and we work very hard, and we deserve to be in the first spot,” Puig said. “Seb and Mito, I think they had awesome rounds together. Joaco didn’t have his best, but he’s still the defending champ, and he’s going to play good tomorrow for sure, so yeah, looking forward to that.”
Team Stinger follows at 30-under par, while the Crushers, Team Smash, the HyFlyers and RangeGoats form a four-way tie for third in the team standings at 26-under par.
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Tee times for Sunday’s final round were moved up 4 hours and will now be at 9:05 a.m. due to the threat of inclement weather.
Fifteen of the 16 groups will begin at 9:05 a.m., with the exception being Puig, Wolff and DeChambeau. That trio will tee off on No. 1 at 9:16 a.m. — 11 minutes after Steele, Gooch and Bland begin on the same hole.
“It’ll probably be a little softer, so really have to be okay with trying to play some lower flighted shots in there and not trying to create too much spin next to the hole,” DeChambeau said. “Just got to work on wedge spin control, and that’s it.”