Bethesda, MD – Brendon de Jonge posted his second straight 2- under 69 on Saturday to grab a 1-stroke lead after three rounds of the AT&T National.
De Jonge finished 54 holes at 7-under-par 206. He will go for his first PGA Tour title on Sunday.
Tournament host Tiger Woods carded a 4-under 67 to climb into a share of second place at minus-6. He was joined there by first-round leader Bo Van Pelt (67) and Seung-Yul Noh (69).
Second-round leader Hunter Mahan stumbled to a 2-over 73. He finished 54 holes alongside Billy Hurley III (66) at 5-under-par 208. Jhonattan Vegas (68) is one stroke behind them at minus-4.
However, none of them was the big story on Saturday. Severe storms blew through Congressional Country Club overnight. Those storms snapped trees in half, ripped tents to shreds and tossed debris throughout the course.
"There was a giant tree across the 14th fairway, and there was a big tree in the 18th fairway. Those were of major concern. There were several trees down behind the second green," explained Mark Russell, vice president of rules and competitions at the PGA Tour.
"We're working on generator power. Hopefully that power comes on later today, and that would be a giant help, too."
Officials delayed the start of the round for six hours, then went off the first and 10th tees in threesomes. Due to all the damage, fans and volunteers were told to stay away; only players, their family members, security and media were allowed in.
Despite that, a few hundred fans trekked to the course against officials' wishes. Tournament staffers hope to have most of the downed trees removed by the time Sunday's play starts.
Mahan led by two to start the round, but went 1-over par on both nines to slide into a tie for fifth.
De Jonge had a steady round that started with a birdie on the second. He birdied the par-5 sixth to get to minus-7.
After five pars in a row, the Zimbabwean pushed his lead to two with a birdie at the 12th. However, de Jonge stumbled to a bogey on the 14th to dip back to minus-7. He parred the last four to end there.
"It was actually really strange out there, took a little while to get used to, said de Jonge of the lack of fans. "It's nice to have people out there and get the buzz and kind of feed off adrenaline. Obviously we didn't have that today. But in saying that, I'm obviously very happy with my round and position going into tomorrow."
Woods got off to a fast start. He birdied the first and third to get to 4- under. After a pair of pars, Woods chipped in for birdie on the par-5 sixth to get within one of the lead.
The 2009 champion got to 6-under with a birdie on the par-3 10th. However, that was the end of his scoring, as Woods parred the final eight holes.
"It was a day I was five back, try to make a run and get myself in the tournament, and I was able to do that," Woods commented.
Van Pelt, who was in the fourth-to-last group with Woods, did all of his scoring in a 5-hole span. He dropped in back-to-back birdie efforts from the fifth to get to minus-4.
The 37-year-old converted a birdie chance on the eighth. Van Pelt made it two in a row as he also birdie the ninth. He parred the final nine holes to share second place.
Noh got off to a slow start as he dropped a shot on the second. He got that shot back with a birdie on the sixth, but faltered to another bogey on No. 7.
After five consecutive pars, Noh got back to even-par for his round with a birdie on the 13th. He birdied the 16th and came right back with a birdie on the par-4 17th to move into a tie for second.
NOTES: De Jonge, who is playing his 137th career PGA Tour event, has never had a piece of the 54-hole lead before on tour...Players will again go off in threesomes on Sunday with groups starting at 11:00 a.m. (et) and the final threesome teeing off at 1:15 p.m...Seven players, including U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III and Justin Leonard, missed the secondary cut