Dustin Johnson fired a 5-under-par 66 on Saturday and built a four-stroke lead after the third round of play at the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City.
Johnson is at 16-under and well in front of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who had seven birdies and four bogeys on his card in the third round to sit in second. Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay, Australia’s Cameron Smith and Spain’s Sergio Garcia are tied for third, seven shots back of Johnson at 9-under.
Reed fashioned a third-round best 7-under 64 on Saturday while Cantlay carded a 65, Smith finished with a 68, and Garcia birdied the last hole to end up with a 69. Reed will be in the final group with Johnson and McIlroy today.
Johnson still has not made a bogey this week through 54 holes, but a double bogey on the 10th hole showed that he is indeed human and slowed his march to this title, if only for one hole.
Johnson also had an eagle on the par-4 second hole, when he drove the green and made a 4-foot putt. He had birdies on the fifth, 11th, 12th, 15th holes and 17th holes
If there is a horse for the course this week, it’s Johnson, who has two top-10 finishes in two starts in this event and won this championship in 2017.
Johnson had the 36-hole lead at 11 under, two strokes over first-round leader McIlroy and Matt Kuchar. Tommy Fleetwood of England started the third round three shots off the pace and Garcia was four back.
Kuchar struggles to a 79 — he had five bogeys and three double bogeys on his card — while playing in the final group with Johnson and McIlroy.
Ian Poulter of England (69) and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat (68) are tied for seventh at 8-under.
Fleetwood (72) never got anything going, ending the round tied for ninth at 6-under.
Tiger Woods had an up-and-down round, settling for a 70 that featured six birdies, three bogeys and double bogey. Woods needed 35 putts in the round, just two short of his all-time high of 37 in a PGA Tour round. He’s among the four players tied for ninth, nine shots off Johnson’s lead.
Four players in the last 50 years have won 20 times on the PGA Tour before turning 35: Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Woods, and Phil Mickelson. Johnson can join them if he can finish off things today. It would take an epic collapse for him, or a torrid round by McIlroy, not to get the job done in the final round.
Lee, Yang share LPGA lead
Australia’s Minjee Lee and South Korea’s Amy Yang share the lead at 15-under par after three rounds of the Honda LPGA Thailand.
Yang, a two-time event champion, fired a bogey-free 6-under-par 66 on Saturday and Lee had six birdies in posting a 5-under 67.
“I feel pretty solid. I’ve been holing a couple more putts this week than the other two weeks that I played, so that’s a good sign. I have been hitting it pretty solid, so that’s pretty nice, too,” Lee, the four-time LPGA winner, said.
Jenny Shin, who led after two rounds, is two strokes behind the leaders and there is a three-way tie for fourth place between Americans Nelly Korda and Austin Ernst and South Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji at 12-under. Ji led the tournament after 18 holes.
Shin will play the final round with Lee and Yang.
Canadian Brooke Henderson is back within striking distance at 11 under following a 66 in the third round, matching her first-round score. Four others are in a pack at 11-under, including Americans Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas.
American Amy Olson is alone in 12th place at 10-under despite three bogeys to go with three birdies during an even-par 72 on Saturday.
Home favorites Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn are both 8-under and in a six-way tie for 13th place.