LAS VEGAS — Adam Schenk let the wind do the work for a driver onto the par-4 15th green, the start of three birdies over his last four holes Saturday that led to a 5-under 66 and a one-shot lead over Matthew Wolff in the Shriners Children’s Open.
The wind also helped him rip another drive on the 18th that set up a gap wedge for his final birdie, giving the 29-year-old from Indiana another shot at his first PGA Tour victory.
It doesn’t get any easier from here.
Right behind was Wolff, one of the more dynamic young players who is comfortable with where he is and how he’s playing. Wolff hit a pitching wedge on the 514-yard 16th hole and made eagle from 18 feet that led to a 65.
Schenk was at 18-under 195, the second time he has held a 54-hole lead. The other was at the Barracuda Championship in August, when he had the equivalent of an even-par 71 on the final day of modified Stableford and finished fourth.
Six players were separated by three shots going into the final round at TPC Summerlin, a group that includes Sam Burns.
Coming off a victory last week in Mississippi, Burns had his game in control and took the lead with a birdie on the 11th hole. He was tied coming up on the back-to-back scoring holes at Summerlin: the reachable 15th and the par-5 16th with the front pin tucked behind a pond.
Burns hit a pedestrian pitch and missed his birdie chance on the 15th, and he came up short and into the water on the 16th, leading to a bogey. He had to settle for a 68, and only a few words when he finished. He was two back.
Schenk recorded his 10th consecutive round in the 60s at the TPC Summerlin, and this started out as one of the tougher days. Rain on Friday was shooed aside by wind that stuck around, and it was blustery enough early in the round to become a problem.
Schenk had two bogeys on his opening five holes and was in danger of falling behind, except that he knew the course — even a windy Summerlin — would offer chances. He seized them at the end of the front nine, running off three straight birdies, including a 6-iron to 5 feet on the 213-yard eighth hole.
Wolff loves it here, too. He has never shot worse than 69 in his 11 rounds in Las Vegas, dating to his rookie season. Wolff lost in a three-man playoff at the Shriners last year, and he had a hunch he was in for a good week.
He loves the course, yes, but he also could feel his game was getting more athletic, more powerful, and he was in a good position to score.
It just took him a little time on Saturday to prove it. He didn’t make birdie until the par-5 ninth hole, and then he made up for the slow start with the scoring holes on the back nine.
He hit 3-wood off the tee and 7-iron from 251 with the wind at his back on the par-5 13th, setting up a tough up-and-down from behind the green. He drove the 15th green with a 3-wood and crushed his drive on the 16th so far that he had a stock pitching wedge for his second.
The former Oklahoma State star looked confident as ever, a big change from earlier this year when he stepped away from golf to clear his head, to keep from letting scores dictate what makes him happy. He has family with him this week from California, and he has another shot to win in Las Vegas.
The low round belonged to Lanto Griffin, who figured after a 72 on Thursday this would be a short week. He followed with a 64 on Friday before the wind arrived, and he handled the wind beautifully Saturday with another 64 that left him five shots behind.