SEOUL – South Korean-born New Zealander Danny Lee holed a long eagle putt on 18 to finish with a 4-under 68 on Saturday at The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Lee shares the lead with Justin Thomas after three rounds in the limited-field event with no cut.
Thomas was actually in position to hold a three-shot lead before carding a bogey of his own at the 18th to shoot 70 and finish tied with Lee at 15-under.
“Well, it’s not too frustrating since I’m tied for the lead,” said Thomas, who won the inaugural event at at Jeju Island, South Korea, in 2017. “It would be one thing if I lost six or seven shots today, but I feel pretty comfortable when I have a chance to win the tournament.”
Lee was particularly pleased to play well before his family and fans in Korea.
“I’ve never played exceptionally well in Korea, so I also felt I could play better in front of my Korean fans,” he said. “On top of that my parents and my wife are Korean and my granddad lives here so that would be great. I am glad I had a strong showing this week and hopefully I can say the same tomorrow.”
Australian Cameron Smith sits alone in third place at 12 under after shooting 68. Jordan Spieth shot 70 and is tied with Wyndham Clark (67) in fourth place at 11 under.
Defending champion Brooks Koepka withdrew prior to his round on Friday after re-aggravating a knee injury. Playing in just his second event since undergoing stem cell treatment on his left knee Aug. 25, Koepka shot 69-75 and was 13 strokes behind Thomas
“After consulting with my doctor, I have decided to withdraw from the CJ Cup and head home for further tests,” Koepka said in a statement. “I appreciate everyone’s concerns and support. I’ll keep you posted as I learn more.”
Koepka returned to Florida to meet with his doctors, and his status for the HSBC Champions event in China in two weeks is uncertain. He missed the cut two weeks ago in his season debut at Las Vegas.
–Field Level Media