Matt Fitzpatrick of England hasn’t won since the U.S. Open last year, but has found that form again.
The 28-year-old Fitzpatrick posted a bogey-free, eight-under-par 63 and will take a one-stroke lead over fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA into the final round of the 55th RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Club in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
“I think this is a golf course that’s shown that there are some low scores to be had around here this week,” said Fitzpatrick, who tied for 10th last week in the Masters and also tied for seventh in the Sentry Tournament of Champions early this season. “To do that for myself today is a big positive.
“Aside from Augusta (National), this is my favorite golf course on the PGA Tour. It really is. I love coming here to play it, although I’ve not had the best results around here. I’ve had a couple of good runs and a couple of poor ones, but I really enjoy the design, enjoy the test, and I think it’s a great golf course.
“I just got off to a good start today with an early eagle and kept going.”
Fitzpatrick, who has won eight times as a pro including the DP World Championship-Dubai twice, collected six birdies but highlighted his round when he holed his second shot from 149 yards out of a fairway bunker for an eagle on the third hole.
Although he didn’t win The Green Jacket last week in the Masters, that shot might help him claim The Tartan Jacket that goes to the winner of the RBC Heritage.
Cantlay, who won the 2021 Tour Championship, followed his second round 65 with a bogey-free 66, including a 42-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole.
“I’ve had a good track record around this golf course and had a number of chances, so it should be nothing new tomorrow,” said Cantlay, who has four top-seven finishes at Harbour Town. “It’s important to play from the fairway around this golf course, and I did that. I gave myself a lot of chances and was able to hole some putts on the back nine.
“I think the course does a good job of giving you a chance to be aggressive to certain hole positions if you if put yourself in good spots on the fairway, but if you get out of position you really need to take your medicine. However, this golf course gives you a lot of chances if you play from the fairway.
“I feel like I finally putted better today. I putted decent in the second round, but today I maybe made a few that I didn’t expect to make, especially that one on No. 16, so it’s nice to see some putts go in.”
Defending champion Jordan Spieth made three birdies on each nine in a 66 and is two shots back in solo third, while second-ranked Scottie Scheffler had a 69 and is one more down in a tie for fourth with Taylor Moore, who had a bogey-free 67; Mark Hubbard, who had a single bogey in his 68; Tommy Fleetwood of England, who made five birdies in a 68, and second-round leader Jimmy Walker, who could manage only a 72.
Said Scheffler, who could regain the No. 1 ranking with a victory on Sunday: “I didn’t shoot myself out of it. Going into tomorrow, I feel pretty good.”
Added Spieth: “Any time you have a chance on a Sunday, you’ve accomplished your goal for the week. Then it just becomes a matter of ‘go out there and get it done,’ and try to separate yourself.”
Sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State made only one bogey in a 70 and is three strokes behind in a tie for ninth with Chez Reavie, who had four birdies on the front nine en route to a 65; Cam Davis of Australia, who birdied six of the first nine holes in a 66; Hayden Buckley, who birdied the first two holes and four more on the back in another 66; Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, who had five birdies in a second straight 68; Matt Kuchar, who made two late birdies in another 68, an Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, who birdied four of the first seven holes in yet another 68.
Top-ranked Jon Rahm, who captured the Masters last week, birdied the first three holes but could manage only a 69 and is tied for 21st, while 10th-ranked Sam Burns is tied for 41st despite making seven birdies in another 69, and ninth-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway, who led after first-round 64, struggled to a 78 without a birdie and is tied for 60th.
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