Collin Morikawa simply never let up.
The 25-year-old Morikawa, who has held at least a share of the lead most of the way, posted a bogey-free, 8-under-par 65 to build a six-stroke lead over second-ranked Scottie Scheffler, ninth-ranked Matt Fitzpatrick of England and J.J. Spaun heading to the final round of the 71st Sentry Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
“It was just kind of the same way I played the first two days,” said Morikawa, from La Canada Flintridge and Cal who is ranked No. 11 in the world. “I just kept everything in front of me and made a lot of putts, for birdies and to save par, which was nice because it’s so much a part of the game.
“It’s really nice to have the putter hot and to feel so confident from 5-to-10 feet, or whatever. It’s been pretty stress-free. I don’t know of comfortable is the right word, but it definitely feels really good out there.
“It’s not over my any means because this golf course can give up some low scores, especially when the wind doesn’t blow. But I’m going to stick to my game plan and I feel have a good chance to win.”
Morikawa, who has played bogey-free golf for the first 72 holes, kick-started his day with an 11-foot eagle putt on the fifth hole before adding six birdies, including a 15-footer on the last hole to record a three-round score of 24-under 195.
Fitzpatrick birdied five of the last seven holes for a bogey-free 66, while Spaun birdied two of the last three for a 69 and Scheffler sank a 40-foot eagle putt on the fifth hole en route to another 69.
“The first hole was the only time I really had any trouble and I made par, so it was a pretty stress-free round,” said Fitzpatrick, who also shot 66 in round one. “I’m really happy with the changes I have made to my iron game and it feels really good out there.”
Said Spaun, from Los Angeles and San Diego State: “I really made only one mistake at No. 15, it put me in trouble and led to a bogey. But it was a ho-hum day other than that, if you can call it that. I saw where it isn’t going to be windy tomorrow, so I’m just going to go for it and go low if I can because I have nothing to lose.”
Fifth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain rattled off five birdies on the back nine in a bogey-free 67 and is seven shots behind in a tie for fifth with Tom Kim of South Korea, who sank a 25-foot eagle putt at No. 15 on his way to a 68.
Max Homa of Valencia and Cal reeled off six of his 10 birdies on the last seven holes for a bogey-free 63 that was the low score of the day and is six down in a tie for seventh with Sungjae Im of South Korea, who holed out from 64 yards for an eagle at No. 5 and added six birdies in a bogey-free 65.
Jordan Spieth, who won the 2016 Sentry TOC, birdied three of the last four holes to salvage a 71 and is nine strokes behind in a tie for ninth with Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who birdied the last six holes for a 69, K.H. Lee of South Korea, who birdied two of the last three holes for a 67, and Brian Harman, who had four birdies on the back nine in a bogey-free 67.
Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA birdied four of the last five holes for a 66 and is tied for 16th, while eighth-ranked Justin Thomas, who has won this tournament twice, birdied the last hole for a 67 and is in a tie for 19th that includes seventh-ranked Will Zalatoris, who had a third straight 69, and 10th-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway is tied for 25th following a 70.
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