Fellow American Xander Schauffle and Reed's Ryder Cup teammate Tony Finau finished tied for second, two strokes back at six-under, while last year's victor Justin Rose was in a pack of golfers at 69.
Of Samoan and Tongan descent, Finau is the first player of that ancestry on the PGA Tour and the first Polynesian to play in the Ryder Cup, where he provided a rare bright spot as a United States of America captain's pick in last month's crushing loss to Europe. He ended up missing a 20-foot birdie putt; Schauffele hit the green in two shots and made a two-putt birdie.
Finau was at 13-under 203 and led by three over Justin Rose, Masters champion Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele. Rose had to take a drop and made a bogey 6 en route to a solo third place finish, four off the lead. "I'm really pleased to still have the lead going into tomorrow".
"Last season, I really wanted to win to justify my rookie year and wasn't able to do that", he said.
"Definitely feel like I let one get away", said Finau, whose only PGA Tour victory was at the Puerto Rico Open two years ago.
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Finau was on the verge of falling three shots behind on the 16th hole after Rose had pitched to within 3 feet for a birdie, and Finau hit a wedge that came up well short. He was stunned when his second shot in the par-5 18th spun off the front of the green and into the water, forcing him to scramble for par at the turn instead of an easy birdie or better.
On the second nine, he bogeyed five times and also had a double and just one birdie on Par-5 second. I have a good opportunity.
But that was child's play compared to this birdie at the par-4 15th. Then, his 4-iron to the par-5 18th was too far right and tumbled down the hill and into the water.
The Holywood star was 74th in the 78-man field for driving accuracy and now lies 1.89 million points behind Molinari with just next week's Nedbank Golf Challenge and the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai remaining for him in the race to become European number one.
American Nelly Korda shot a flawless four-under-par 68 in the final round to win her maiden LPGA title by two strokes at the Swinging Skirts Taiwan Championship Sunday. He finished inside the top ten in two majors and two FedEx Cup Playoff events this past season, and if he develops a bit more consistency, the results will hold up with Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and the rest of the new generation of superstars on the PGA TOUR. Ryann O'Toole was third at 10 under after a 67.