Séamus Power has Masters in his sights if he can seal win in Georgia

Waterford man tied second, three behind Gooch ahead of final round at RSM Classic

Séamus Power can break into the world’s top 50 and secure his place in all of next year’s Majors, including the Masters, if he can claim his second PGA Tour win in the RSM Classic in Georgia on Sunday.

Looking increasingly comfortable at the business end of big money events, the 35-year-old from Tooraneena in Waterford overcame another day of testing breezes at Sea Island Resort’s Seaside Course, carding a three-under 67 to go into the final round tied for second with Colombia’s Sebastián Muñoz, just three shots behind Talor Gooch on 13 under par.

Gooch shot a 67 to lead on 16 under in his quest for a maiden PGA Tour win but, after winning the Barbasol Championship in a gruelling six-hole playoff in July, Power should feel good about his chances of ending the year with two PGA Tour titles on his CV.

The winner will pick up 500 FedExCup points, a cheque for $1.29 million and an invitation to tee it up at Augusta National next April.


Winning an event of this stature is the next stepping stone for 34-year-old Power, who has moved from US college golf to the mini tours and the Korn Ferry Tour before finally clawing his way up the PGA Tour pecking order over the last four years.

“The goal is to get a win in the 500-point events and what comes with that,” said Power, who could jump from 89th in the world with a win into the top 50 and add the British Open and the US Open to his start in next year’s PGA Championship with an invitation to the Masters guaranteed for a win of that stature.

“Golf, you’re always trying to improve,” he said. “Some things I was trying to continue to improve here and there and it’s just fun to try and put yourself in contention to see how you react.”

He started his day by three-putting the second from 50 feet but birdied the seventh and ninth from five feet, knocked in a 10 footer at the 13th for another birdie to move into second place, then chipped in for eagle at the 15th to briefly take the lead.

He would hand that shot back when he went from fairway to greenside sand at the 16th and while Gooch birdied two of his last four holes to open a three-shot lead, Power is feeling good.

“It was nice, a huge bonus obviously on a day like today to pick up the two shots,” Power said of the chip-in for eagle. “Nice little momentum there.”

He’s been building momentum all season, surging from outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings to fully exempt as his game clicked, his confidence grew and he clinched his breakthrough win after a six-hole playoff in the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky.

“I was able to put myself in good spots on a pretty regular basis in the summer and you just get a little bit more comfortable,” Power said. “You get comfortable at 15th, all of a sudden you’re comfortable at 10th and fifth and that makes a massive difference.

“Even today being in I think the third last group, you’re much more comfortable starting out and hopefully take it into tomorrow.”

With windy conditions making for testing scoring at Sea Island Resort, Power’s short game has been key as he’s scrambled for par 10 times out of 11.

“Yeah, it’s one part of the game I’ve always really enjoyed practicing it,” he said. “I love chipping, I could spend hours chipping all different shots. It’s fun to me and I’ve always been pretty good at it.

“I’m not really sure why or anything, it’s not as if I got a lot of short game lessons or anything. It just seemed to make sense to me, and kind of fun to figure shots out and see what you can do.”

Victory would be the perfect way for him to celebrate Thanksgiving next week with his Irish relatives in Las Vegas.

“I have a cousin in Las Vegas and I’d say him and his wife are the host and hostess of the year, so I’d say they’ll probably have something planned for next week so looking forward to it,” he said.

Like Power earlier this year, 30-year-old Gooch has been knocking in the door for his maiden win after racking up four top-11 finishes in his last four events.

But he’s looking forward to get out in the final group with Power and Muñoz at 4.15pm Irish time.

“I mean, if you don’t enjoy pressure, you’re in the wrong sport,” Gooch said. “I’ve been fortunate since I’ve been five years old to have a group of buddies that we all grew up playing sports together.

“So when we’re together we’re always competing at something, we’re always doing something to put some pressure and try to break each other basically. So it’s just what I’ve always known is just try to enjoy the pressure and try to prove people wrong. That’s, yeah, you love it, you love it.”

RSM Classic leaderboard (USA unless stated, Par 70)

196 Talor Gooch 64 65 67

199 Sebastian Munoz (Col) 60 70 69, Séamus Power (Irl) 63 69 67

200 Tom Hoge 65 68 67

201 Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 63 68 70, Luke List 68 67 66, Scott Stallings 63 69 69

202 John Huh 63 67 72, Taylor Moore 66 65 71, Webb Simpson 69 67 66, David Skinns (Eng) 64 69 69

203 Denny McCarthy 66 72 65, Aaron Rai (Eng) 68 67 68, Cameron Smith (Aus) 64 71 68, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 64 72 67

204 Russell Henley 64 70 70, Max McGreevy 66 69 69, Guillermo Mito Pereira (Chi) 67 70 67, J. J. Spaun 64 71 69

205 Corey Conners (Can) 62 71 72, Charles Howell III 68 70 67, Zach Johnson 61 71 73, Adam Long 67 71 67, Keith Mitchell 68 67 70, Justin Rose (Eng) 67 68 70

206 Jonathan Byrd 64 72 70, Joshua Creel 68 70 68, Michael Gligic (Can) 65 72 69, Matt Kuchar 65 71 70, William McGirt 66 69 71, Andrew Novak 67 70 69, Taylor Pendrith (Can) 68 69 69, Patrick Rodgers 64 72 70, Dylan Wu 66 72 68

207 Brian Gay 64 73 70, Bill Haas 65 71 71, Lee Hodges 65 69 73, Russell Knox (Sco) 67 68 72, Tyler McCumber 69 68 70, Troy Merritt 66 71 70, Chez Reavie 63 72 72, Cameron Young 65 71 71, Mickey DeMorat 63 75 69

208 Wyndham Clark 66 72 70, Joel Dahmen 65 73 70, Brian Harman 66 72 70, Peter Malnati 68 70 70, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 67 68 73, Adam Scott (Aus) 67 71 70, Kevin Streelman 68 69 71

209 Matthew NeSmith 67 69 73, Scott Piercy 69 68 72, Brendan Steele 66 69 74, Vincent Whaley 65 73 71

210 Lanto Griffin 65 70 75, Adam Hadwin (Can) 67 68 75, Jim Herman 65 69 76, Nate Lashley 63 74 73, Austin Smotherman 65 73 72, Michael Thompson 66 71 73, Matt Wallace (Eng) 65 72 73, Jared Wolfe 68 70 72

211 Doug Ghim 66 71 74, Sung-Hoon Kang (Kor) 67 68 76, Scottie Scheffler 63 73 75, Brandt Snedeker 68 70 73

212 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 66 72 74, Roger Sloan (Can) 67 71 74

214 Nick Hardy 69 69 76

216 Davis Love III 68 70 78, Kyle Stanley 70 68 78