2024 John Deere Classic leaderboard: Jordan Spieth soars in Round 3 as Davis Thompson holds slight lead (2024)

For the second straight weekend, Davis Thompson heads into the deciding final round with a chance to grab his first win on the PGA Tour. The former Georgia standout sits in the pole position and will take a two-stroke lead over Eric Cole and Aaron Rai at 21 under into Sunday's affairs at TPC Deere Run.

Just off the pace set by Rai and C.T. Pan following the first 36 holes, Thompson made the most of his Moving Day by signing for the lowest score in Round 3, a 9-under 62. Two birdies off the jump were accompanied by three others on his front side, including a holed bunker shot on the par-4 5th to turn in 30.

Thompson's heater did not cool into his back nine, and a trio of birdies from Nos. 12-14 turned a congested leaderboard into a one-man show. Tied for much of his round with the likes of Rai and Pan, Thompson zipped past the pack to take full control of this tournament with 18 holes to play.

He kept his competitors at bay — mainly Cole, who played Nos. 16-17 in 3 under — thanks to a creative birdie on the par-5 17th and ensured a two-stroke lead would be his heading into the final round. In addition to Cole, Thompson will have to contend with a couple of his counterparts from last weekend in Detroit.

Rai remains in the mix thanks to another solid round, as does amateur Luke Clanton at 16 under. The rising junior at Florida State has kept at it following his top-10 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and looks to put last week's experience in contention to good use. A win would be the second by an amateur on the PGA Tour this season.

The leader

1. Davis Thompson (-21)

Thompson arrived in great form, with a top-10 at the U.S. Open and runner-up finish at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and he has continued it into this weekend. Saturday's performance was as methodical as they come. He missed only a couple of fairways and greens, and he made the most of his scoring chances. If you want to poke a hole in his tournament, look to his approach play, where he ranks outside the top 30 in the field. Outside of that, he appears to be in complete control.

Other contenders

T2. Aaron Rai, Eric Cole (-19)
T4. C.T. Pan, Hayden Springer (-17)
T6. J.J. Spaun, Michael Thorbjornsen, Luke Clanton (a) (-16)
T9. Sami Valimaki, Rico Hoey, Carson Young (-15)

We've got a couple of youngsters in Thorbjornsen and Clantion with a chance to join the likes of Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau in kick-starting their careers at the John Deere Classic. Clanton hung tough and finished with a birdie, while Thorbjornsen was steady once again. With 10 of the top 12 players on the leaderboard without a PGA Tour win, don't be surprised if these two, who are without any scar tissue, put their foot on the gas and don't look back. Not only will a trophy be up for grabs, but so will two spots in the field for The Open for those not yet qualified, making Sunday even more important.

"I mean, there was a 59 earlier on Thursday. I remember Sepp last year," Thorbjornsen said. "Funny, we both shot 2-over the first day; both shot 8-under the second; and I think both shot 5-under the third day. So I think he shot 61 or something like that. He was on 59 watch. Put him in a great spot. It's out there. Got to play really good golf tomorrow. Everyone will fire low scores, so try and fire one a little lower."

Spieth shows signs of life

The two-time tournament champion entered the weekend eight off the pace but quickly made his march up the leaderboard. Six birdies across his first eight holes – including five straight at one point – catapulted Spieth's name inside the top 10 before two more in the early stages of his back nine pulled him alongside the leaders.

At 8 under through 12 holes, Spieth had his sights on the second sub-60 round of the week. Needing to play his final six holes in 4 under, he was unable to keep his momentum rolling. Signing for an 8-under 63, the 30-year-old gained more than two strokes on approach and another three on the greens – a welcomed sight given his shortcomings in those areas this season.

"I've always started a little slow at this tournament, so it wasn't the plan, but once it happened, I remember wanted to kind of shoot one of these rounds yesterday and feel like you're right in it," Spieth said. "But, then, it's a race. It's prime scoring conditions. We had quite a few front pins in bowls that you really needed to make birdie on. Sometimes that's the hardest part, is the shot almost seems too easy because we're not used to it.

"Luckily, I capitalized on those and made a couple putts," he continued. "It was just a good solid round. No chip-ins, nothing spectacular, no crazy ones here or there. Tomorrow, if I can be as solid as I was today and maybe catch a couple extra breaks, it would take something extremely flawless to have a chance, but I'll try and do what I did today."

2024 John Deere Classic updated odds and picks

  • Davis Thompson: +100
  • Aaron Rai: 3-1
  • Eric Cole: 9/2
  • C.T. Pan: 28-1
  • Hayden Springer: 30-1
  • Luke Clanton: 35-1

Thompson's price of +100 seems more than fair, and it's not a horrible entry point with the lack of winners on this leaderboard, but I think Cole takes this one home. He's hitting his irons great, and if he can consistently place his ball in the fairway off the tee, he'll put a ton of pressure on Thompson. If looking outside the final group, the cost of admission to the Jordan Spieth rollercoaster is 70-1. If you're into that sort of thing.

2024 John Deere Classic leaderboard: Jordan Spieth soars in Round 3 as Davis Thompson holds slight lead (2024)

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