No. 1 Rahm Shoots Record-Tying 61, Ties Smith for Sentry TOC Lead

Cameron Smith of Australia kept his spot at the top of the leaderboard, but this time he had company, top-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain.

Rahm (pictured) tied the tournament record set earlier in the day by shooting 12-under-par 61 and will enter the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions even with Smith on the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort on the Hawaiian island of Maui in the first PGA Tour event in 2022.

“It was great going head-to-head with Cam and we both played well, but it was nice to tie the course record,” said Rahm, who hasn’t played since the Ryder Cup in September. “It was pretty remarkable and it’s always nice to get a course record.

“It was fun and we’re going to go head-to-head again tomorrow, and I talked with Cam about it near the end of the round today, and he didn’t make it easy because he’s playing so well. It’s never perfect, but it was pretty close today.

“I have to keep it going, keep making putts, to win tomorrow.”

Rahm, the reigning U.S. Open champion, sank a four-foot eagle putt on the 15th hole and had four birdies around that while posting a 54-hole score of 26-under 193, sinking an eight-foot birdie putt on the last hole to catch Smith.

Smith, who held the outright lead after each of the first two rounds, collected nine birdies in a bogey-free 64, but could manage only a par on final hole after missing a 14-foot birdie putt that would have kept him in sole possession of the lead.

“It was pretty cool to be part of that round with Jonny and I’m looking forward to doing that again tomorrow,” said Smith, who has three victories on the PGA Tour. “He’s the best player in the world and it was great going head-to-head with him.

“It was so much fun and I just played great from tee-to-green. He played better than I did on the back nine, and that’s OK, because he’s the No. 1 player in the world, and we’ll just see what tomorrow brings.”

Daniel Berger birdied the last five holes in a bogey-free 66 and is five strokes back in solo third, while fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA also shot 66 and is six shots down in a tie for fourth with Matt Jones of Australia, who eagled the 14th and 18th holes in a 62, and Sungjae Im of South Korea, who chipped in for eagle from 46 feet on the last hole for a 65.

Marc Leishman of Australia birdied three of the last five holes for a 65 and is eight down in solo seventh, while Justin Thomas, who won the Sentry TOC in 2017 and 2020, set the course record with two eagles early in the day with a 61 and is one more behind in a tie for eighth with reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who birdied four of the last six holes for a 68.

“I wouldn’t say it was easy, but the course is soft and there was no wind,” Thomas said. “I just got it going and stayed focused. I just felt in control of my ball today, just kept moving forward and tried to make as many birdies as I could.

“I just kept my head down and kept going.”

Cam Davis of Australia sank a 30-foot eagle putt on the 15th hole en route to a 66 and is 10 strokes behind in a tie for 10th with Kevin Kisner, who also had at 66, plus Stewart Cink, who finished at 67, and Kevin Na of Diamond Bar, who wound with a bogey-free 68.

Fifth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis birdied the last four holes of the front nine in a 67 and is in a tie for 14th that includes sixth-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla San Diego State, and 10th-ranked Sam Burns, who both finished at 68.

Second-ranked Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal is tied for 19th after a 67, while defending champion Harris English totaled 68 with two late birdies and is in a tie for 32nd that includes seventh-ranked Viktor Hovland of Norway, who came in at 73.

For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html
    

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