SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Dustin Johnson’s 65 put him in the lead at the PGA Championship with six twosomes left on the course at TPC Harding Park.
Johnson made eight birdies — the most he’s ever had in a round at a major. He bogeyed the fifth hole, then followed it up with a birdie on No. 6. Then he made double bogey on the ninth hole, but came right back to birdie Nos. 10, 14, 15, and 17 in a bogey-free back nine.
The 2016 U.S. Open champion entered the third round at 3 under — five strokes behind 36-hole leader Li Haotong. But Li was 2 over through 14, picking up a double bogey of his own when one of the course’s trademark cypress tree swallowed his tee shot on No. 13.
Scottie Scheffler was in the clubhouse at minus-8 after matching Johnson for the day’s low round at 65. Cameron Champ was also 8 under, with two holes to play.
Collin Morikawa birdied three of his last four holes to post a 5-under 65 and move into contention after three rounds in the PGA Championship.
Bryson DeChambeau also moved up the leaderboard, capping his round with a 95-foot birdie putt from the front of the green on the 18th hole. DeChambeau shot a 66 and was at 6 under after three rounds.
While the leaders dueled on the back nine at Harding Park, Morikawa gave himself a chance to be a factor in the final round by coming back from back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13 to run off three birdies in a row beginning at No. 15. He was at 7 under.
DeChambeau, meanwhile, made four birdies on the back nine, capped by the long putt that would have drawn huge roars in other times. Instead, DeChambeau stood with a sheepish smile on his face after the putt raced up a slope and straight into the cup.
Tiger Woods knows he isn’t going to win his 16th major at the PGA Championship in San Francisco this weekend. He still has something to play for in the final round at Harding Park on Sunday.
Woods shot a 2 over 72 on Saturday, leaving him 2 over for the tournament. That was 10 strokes behind leader Li Haotong, who had yet to tee off.
Woods said he’s still hoping for a strong finish on Sunday before he turns his attention to the playoffs and the postponed U.S. Open.
“We have some big events to be played,” he said. “Hopefully tomorrow I can shoot something in the red and get it to under par for the tournament.”
Woods made four bogeys in a six-hole span, starting with No. 8. He didn’t card a single birdie until No. 16, and then he added another on the 18th hole.
“I was frustrated that I didn’t get anything going early,” he said. “It was just a fight all day.”
His problem: reading greens, which were a little slower on the course than they were when he practiced on the putting green.
“I just didn’t trust it,” he said. “I had a couple putts where I should have hit it a little bit harder, and I didn’t do it, and consequently, the ball died off at the end.”
Li Haotong has teed off for the third round at the PGA Championship.
The 25-year-old from Shanghai was 8 under par through 36 holes. He is playing in the final group, with Tommy Fleetwood, who was at minus-6.
This might be the worst Justin Thomas ever felt about a 68 in a major.
The world’s No. 1 player made the cut on the number at the PGA Championship and still held out hope of making a run. He figured he would need to be 10 under on the weekend, and he started the third round with five birdies in seven holes.
But he made two bogeys to close out the front nine — those are two of the hardest holes at Harding Park — and then dropped two more shots at the end of his round.
Thomas says he was most disappointed with his wedge play.
“I let a really good round go, and really had a great opportunity to put myself in a good position going into tomorrow,” he said. “I just didn’t capitalize on the back nine.”
Tiger Woods has already made the turn in the third round of the PGA Championship, and he is still looking for his first birdie of the day.
Woods started Saturday’s round at even par, eight strokes behind leader Li Haotong, before making three bogeys in a five-hole stretch at the turn.
Woods three-putted from 26 feet on the par-3 eighth hole to make a bogey, then did it again from 44 feet on the par-3 11th. He dropped another stroke on the par-4 12th when he flew the green on his second shot and then chipped back over the green on his third shot.
The leaders have yet to tee off at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. Among those making a move from back in the field is world No. 1 Justin Thomas, who was 2 under for the day to improve to minus-1 for the tournament. Thomas was minus-5 through seven holes and still at 3 under before bogeying the 18th hole.
Still on the course were Emiliano Grillo, who was 3 under for the day to improve to minus-2, and Patrick Cantlay, who was also 3 under, leaving him at minus-2 for the tournament.
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth have been friends since they were 13 and represented a U.S. team that played in France. They were paired Saturday at the PGA Championship, but have never been farther apart.
Spieth already had two majors before Thomas had his first PGA Tour win. Now, Thomas is No. 1 in the world and Spieth has fallen out of the top 60 having gone three years without a victory.
More separation came at Harding Park.
They both made the cut on the number and started the third round nine shots behind Li Haotong. This figures to be a big day for everyone, and Thomas quickly seized on it with two birdies in four holes. Spieth quickly opened with two straight bogeys, and he had to save par on the par-5 fourth hole. He remained in last place.
Tiger Woods also had an early start, as did Phil Mickelson.
They all figured to finish their rounds before Li and the other contenders even teed off.
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