Rickie Fowler went on vacation to the Bahamas, but now he’s back to work and on top of the leaderboard.
Fowler shot 4-under-par 68 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over Roberto Castro heading to the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.
“It was nice to get away with the guys and I came back refreshed,” said Fowler, who took the trip with Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman.
“The course dried out and played much faster, so 68 is a really good round out there. The only two bogeys I made, I just missed putts and didn’t get up-and-down for par.
“I had a good warm-up, hit a good drive on the first hole and just went from there.”
Fowler, who won at Quail Hollow in 2012 and will defend his title next week in the Players Championship, took charge with three straight birdies through the 16th hole and his second straight 68 gave him a 54-hole total of 9-under 207.
Castro, coming off a 66, made birdies on two of the last three holes to cap a 71 and was passed by Fowler.
Justin Rose of England made two late birdies in a 69 and was two shots behind in a tie for third with James Hahn, who made three straight birdies through No. 16, but made bogey on the penultimate hole in a 68.
Andrew Loupe, who held at least a share of the lead after each of the first two rounds, struggled to a 74 and was another stroke down in a tie for fifth with left-hander Scott Langley, who made three birdies down the stretch to post a 71.
Tim Wilkinson of New Zealand and Lucas Glover both shot 70 and were three strokes behind in a tie for seventh, and Retief Goosen of South Africa was five shots back in solo ninth after a 71.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland shot 73, including a 79-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole, but was eight strokes behind in a tie for 19th that included Adam Scott of Australia, who totaled 73, and Phil Mickelson, who hit into the water en route to a quadruple bogey-8 in the last hole of a 76.