Fifth-ranked Justin Thomas took charge when Collin Morikawa, the leader after each of the first two rounds of the Workday Charity Open, faltered on Saturday.
The 27-year-old Thomas, seeking his third victory of the season and 13th of his PGA Tour career, posted a second straight 6-under-par 66 to take a two-stroke lead over Viktor Hovland of Norway heading to the final round at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
Thomas is bogey-free through 54 holes.
“It was a very good round, especially because it was really windy and there were some pin positions that I’ve never seen here,” said Thomas, who won the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges and the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this season. “They’ve done a great job setting up the course.
“I got it around very well today, scrambled well, chipped and putted to save some pars when I needed to. There’s a chance I could make a bogey tomorrow, but I hopefully I don’t. I’m comfortable, I’m going to stick to my game plan and I like my position.”
Thomas collected three birdies on each nine while recording a three-round score of 16-under 200.
Hovland birdied the first two holes and three of the last four to cap his own 66, while Morikawa could manage only a 72 and is three shots back in solo third after making a 16-foot birdie putt on the last hole.”
“My putting has been little inconsistent the last few weeks, but I feel like I’m stroking it well, but just not quite reading the lines,” said Hovland, who claimed his first PGA Tour victory in the Puerto Rico Open in February and has finished in the top 25 in all four events after the end of the shutdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve been spraying a few of my drives out to the right and will have to straighten that out to give myself more birdie chances tomorrow. I learned in college that you have to figure things out on your own, and that’s an important part of golf.”
Said Morikawa, from La Canada Flintridge and Cal: “It was a tough day, but it was big to make that putt on the last hole to be only three shots back instead of four. That gives me something positive heading to tomorrow.”
Sam Burns shot 70 and is five behind in a tie for fourth with Kevin Streelman, who had a 71, while Ian Poulter of England and Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia both totaled 69 and are one more down in a tie for sixth.
Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, trying to snap out of a slump, and reigning U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland both carded 66s and are seven shots back in a tie for eighth with Chase Seiffert, who had a 70, and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who came in at 72.
Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, who has dropped to No. 11 in the rankings and is trying to climb back into the top 10, shot 66 and is tied for 13th, while
eighth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA is tied for 33rd after a 70, ninth-ranked Patrick Reed struggled to a 76 and is tied for 48th, and second-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain stumbled to a 75 and is tied for 62nd.
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