2023 American Express leaderboard, scores: Co-leaders Jon Rahm, Davis Thompson set to duel in final round

Jon Rahm continued to impress Saturday at Round 3 of the 2023 American Express. The 2018 champion shot out of the gates on the Stadium Course and quickly made up the two-stroke deficit to 18- and 36-hole leader Davis Thompson. Playing his first 12 holes at 8 under, Rahm eventually reached 24 under for the tournament before a slump on the greens.

With one bogey and five pars over the last six holes, Rahm will enter the final round at 23 under and in a share of the lead with Thompson. While the PGA Tour rookie was unable to match his par-5 skills from the first two days that included a total of five eagles, the 23-year-old showed gumption and lost against a first-year player.

Never one to falter in the face of adversity, Thompson carded a respectable 5-under 67 to tie with Rahm and four strokes ahead of his closest pursuers. While the potential for a match-play situation between the final pairings is high, many are hoping that won’t be the case as Tom Kim, Sam Burns and Taylor Montgomery sit five strokes adrift with Scottie Scheffler and Sungjae Im just one to the back.

The leaders

T1. Davis Thompson, Jon Rahm (-23)

I wouldn’t necessarily describe this as a David vs. Goliath situation, but it’s certainly in the neighborhood. This week marks Thompson’s 20th start on the PGA Tour, while his playing competitor on Sunday boasts the accolades of former world No. 1, major championship winner and eight-time PGA Tour winner. Rahm showed some frustration with the flat stick late in his third round, and should it carry over into the final round, it could give way to a player who relishes the underdog role.

“A lot of people could have said the first time Jordan Spieth won, the first time I won, the first time a lot of people won,” Rahm said of his experience being an advantage. “So do you have an advantage? I don’t know. I mean, I have the experience to be there, if it comes down to the wire. But he’s [Thompson’s] no sloppiness, obviously. He has done what he has done. At the end of the day, it’s you against you. You can only control what you do.”

Other contenders

3. JT Poston, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (-19)

T5. Tom Kim, Harry Higgs, Sam Burns, Taylor Montgomery (-18)

T9. Dylan Wu, Chris Kirk, Patton Kizzire, Sungjae Im, Robby Shelton, Scottie Scheffler (-17)

While one rookie occupies the top of the leaderboard, another lurks in Montgomery again. The Las Vegas resident has made the cut in each of his first eight starts in his first walk around the PGA Tour and has inserted his name into the Rookie of the Year conversation. Collecting seven top-15 finishes during this stretch, Montgomery is on pace to add to that total and simply summed up the motivation behind this consistent effort.

“Somebody told me my game wasn’t very consistent about a year and a half ago, and it kind of pissed me off,” Montgomery said. “So I’ve been consistent.”

Is another dramatic Sunday in store?

The first two weeks on the PGA Tour in 2023 have been nothing short of overwhelming. With Rahm coming back from as many as nine strokes in the Tournament of Champions and Si Woo Kim overcoming a three-stroke deficit at the Sony Open, it makes one wonder if something similar could happen at The American Express.

Defending champion Hudson Swafford erased a three-stroke margin en route to victory a year ago, and two years before that, Patrick Cantlay nearly accomplished the impossible. Cantlay made the 54-hole cut at the number, shooting a final-round 11-under 61 to fall just one stroke short of the eventual winner, Si Woo Kim. This is certainly not lost on the chasing pack that includes a number of PGA Tour winners, including Tom Kim, Burns, Im and Scheffler.

2023 American Express updated odds and picks

  • Jon Rahm: 4/7
  • Davis Thompson: 3-1
  • JT Poston: 25-1
  • Christiaan Bezuidenhout: 30-1
  • Tom Kim: 33-1
  • Taylor Montgomery: 35-1
  • Sam Burns: 35-1
  • Scottie Scheffler: 45-1
  • Sungjae Im: 75-1

This has essentially become a head-to-head matchup between Rahm and Thompson unless something biblical unfolds. While I would love nothing more than to see Thompson take down the world beater that is Rahm, it’s hard to see that happening.

There’s still a modicum of value in Rahm’s 4/7 price given how cooperative the putter has been since last summer’s BMW Championship (he’s averaging about +1.50 strokes gained putting per round during this run). Because of this, and coupled with his rock-solid tee to green play, his second win in 2023 – and fourth in his last six starts – seems inevitable.

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