Rookie Austin Cook proved something to himself when he captured the RSM Classic by four strokes in November for his first PGA Tour victory.
The 26-year-old Cook has continued to play well and shot 8-under-par 64 at La Quinta Country Club to take a one-stroke lead over Martin Piller and Andrew Landry heading to the final round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.
“I’ve been able to take it one shot at a time and make birdie putts when they were there, just good ball-striking and good putting,” said Cook, who tied for 22nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and tied for 18th in the Sony Open in Hawaii the last two weeks. “I didn’t see many scoreboards out there today and didn’t know where I stood, so I was just out there playing golf. It was fun.
“(Winning) has made it a lot easier, being able to set my schedule, to pick and choose the events I wanted to play in rather than play only the tournaments I could get into. I always believed I could play with these guys, but it was nice to go out and prove it.”
Cook, who opened the tournament with a 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West, holed out from the fairway for an eagle on the sixth hole and added seven birdies in his 64 at La Quinta for a 54-hole total of 19-under 197.
Landry, the 36-hole co-leader, had two birdies and no birdies in a 70 on the Stadium Course at PGA West, while Piller made three birdies in a row through No. 7 while finishing on the back nine at La Quinta.
Third-ranked Jon Rahm, who opened with a 62 at La Quinta, had three late bogeys in a 70 on the Stadium Course and is two shots back in a tie for fourth with Scott Piercy, who collected four birdies on his back nine in a 66 on the same course.
Adam Hadwin of Canada made three late birdies in a 67 at La Quinta and is three down in a tie for sixth with Grayson Murray, who finished at 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Brandon Hankins, who came in at 68 on the same course.
Seamus Power of Ireland made five birdies in a span of six holes on the back nine of the Nicklaus Course and is another shot behind in a tie for ninth with Jason Kokrak, who wound up at 71 on the Stadium Course.
Defending champion Hudson Swafford shot 70 on the Stadium Course and is tied for 21st, while Phil Mickelson carded a 74 on the Stadium Course to miss the 54-hole cut for the first time since 1994 in the tournament he won twice when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic.
For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.