Schauffele and Morikawa lead as Lowry roars into contention – US PGA Championship

Round 3

Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa hold a share of the lead after a gripping third round at the PGA Championship, where Shane Lowry made history and a host of players moved into major contention.

Schauffele birdied his last two holes to close a second successive 68 at Valhalla Golf Club and move to 15 under alongside Morikawa, who posted a four-under 67 to bolster his hopes of a third major title.

Sahith Theegala – completing the final threeball after a lengthy fog delay left players going out in threeballs – produced a back-nine 31 to get within a shot of the lead, while Lowry’s bogey-free round equalled the lowest round in men’s major history.

Lowry shares fourth spot with Bryson DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland, with Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre a further stroke back in tied-seventh alongside his Ryder Cup playing partner Justin Rose.

Lowry and Rose both went low on moving day.

Rory McIlroy fell seven behind after a three-under 68 and Jordan Spieth also heads into the final day on eight under, while world No 1 Scottie Scheffler slipped out of contention after seeing his streak of 41 consecutive rounds of par or better ended with a two-over 73.

Schauffele – starting the day one ahead – holed from 10 feet to save par at the first and temporarily saw his advantage double when Morikawa missed a five-footer to save par at the next, only for his paying partner to bounce back with a chip-in birdie from just off the third green.

Both failed to take advantage of the driveable fourth hole and saw several of the chasing pack move closer to the lead, with McIlroy making four consecutive birdies around the turn and Lowry joining Rose in making five birdies in a six-hole stretch on their front nine.

Morikawa pulled level with a 15-foot birdie at the fifth but was unable to add another at the par-five seventh, where Schauffele two-putted from 60 feet to edge back ahead, with pars over the next two holes seeing the Olympic gold medallist stay one ahead at the turn.

Lowry – playing several groups ahead – had raced to a front-nine 29 and followed long-range birdies at the 13th and 14th by converting from six feet at the 17th to go nine under for the day, before setting the clubhouse target after narrowly missing his chance for a ’61 round’ at the par-five last.

Morikawa finds himself in the last pairing again at a Major.

The Irishman held a share of the lead until Schauffele started his back nine with a birdie, with the American missing chances at the 11th and 13th to drain a 30-foot birdie at the par-three 14th and temporarily go two clear.

A dramatic three-shot swing at the par-four 15th saw Morikawa jump ahead with a six-foot birdie, as Schauffele duffed a chip in the rough on his way to a double-bogey, with Theegala chipping in from off the green to find himself one back in tied-second.

Schauffele fired his approach to three feet at the 17th and converted the putt to pull level with Morikawa, who had to lay up at the par-five last but converted from 10 feet to match his playing partner’s birdie and move both to 15 under.

“Felt like I’ve had to work for a lot of my birdies the last two days,” Schauffele said. “Haven’t been able to make many putts. I feel like I’m still hitting the ball. Feel like I’m hitting the ball pretty nice. If I can just get the putter going a little bit, it should free me up.”

Schauffele will need to find the scoring form he showed on Thursday if he is to hold off the chasing pack.

DeChambeau chipped in for eagle at the par-five last, where Hovland two-putted to card a third for a third birdie in four holes to close a bogey-free 66 and also get to 13 under, with 15 players heading into the final day within five strokes of the lead.

Two-time PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas is inside the top-10 after successive 67s, as McIlroy missed birdie chances on his back nine before carding two bogeys in three holes from the 14th to seemingly extend his wait for a fifth major.

“There was a six-hole stretch there, seven-hole stretch where just sort of the putter cooled on me,” McIlroy said. “Depending on what happens tomorrow, if I look back on the tournament, I may rue that six-hole stretch where I wasn’t able to hole any putts.”

McIlroy birdied the last to head into the final day tied-19th, as Scheffler – without regular caddie Ted Scott – saw his troubles switch from off the course to on them after a nightmare start to his third round.

Scheffler came into the weekend three strokes of the lead, having carded a second-round 66 just hours after being arrested, only dropped four shots in a three-hole stretch early in his round to plummet down the leaderboard. He mixed five birdies with four bogeys in the rest of his round to post a two-over 73. drop to a share of 24th.

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