Thomas maintains three-shot lead, Johnson on the charge

06 August, 2018, 10:15 | Author: Judy Cobb
  • Tiger Woods barely keeps pace at Firestone

Justin Thomas turned on the jets midway through the third round and opened a three-stroke lead at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio on Saturday.

McIlroy figured to be Thomas' most prominent roadblock on his way to his first World Golf Championship bottle cap, but the Northern Irishman tumbled out of contention when he played a six-hole stretch around the turn in 4 over par.

Four-time major victor McIlroy carded a three-under 67 and Poulter a 70 to stand 11 under, three shots behind leader American Justin Thomas (67). He started the day five off the lead and carded a three-over 73 that left him 11 adrift.

He was at 14-under 196, three shots clear of Rory McIlroy (67) and Ian Poulter (70).

He set the tone early by hooking a pitching wedge over a steep lip in a fairway bunker to just short of the green and saving par with a 6-foot putt, then holing a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 second.

The only regret for Thomas was a mistake that didn't cost him as much as it could have.

"Well, today I was just trying to be as aggressive as possible and fire at everything", said Woods, whose tie for 31st was his third-worst at this tournament dating to 1999.

"I wanted that yellow hat and I asked [equipment manufacturer Titleist] if we could get some, but everything in stock was sent to Jarrod [in Australia], which is understandable". Thomas followed suit, averaging a hefty 329.3 yards per measured drive (ranked 12th) and 75.0 percent of his greens (ranked T-2) to win the last playing of the event at Firestone by four strokes over Kyle Stanley. I was just going to be aggressive and see what happens.

Sunday looks to be a great day of golf. "I didn't hit the ball crisp or clean", Woods said.

"I played well enough to win a few times this year and I only got over the line once", McIlroy said.

He held steady on a day when the three players who started closest to the lead all fell apart.

"I'm going to have to", Woods said of picking up the scoring pace in the third round. He has been runner-up three times, most recently at the British Open two weeks ago.

"Obviously we're all thinking of (Lyle) and it would be very nice to obviously have a good week", Leishman said.

But after finishing his round with a bogey, 14-time major victor Woods settled at four under with his round of 66 handing group honours to Day.

"They don't get to come out that often anymore, so this is my first PGA Tour win with him here and it's really special".

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