Home Sport Scheffler struggling as Schauffele and Morikawa share PGA Championship lead

Scheffler struggling as Schauffele and Morikawa share PGA Championship lead

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Schauffele, who held the solo lead after the first two rounds, birdied the final two holes at Valhalla Golf Club en route to a three-under-par 68 that left him at 15 under on the week and level with twice major winner Morikawa (67).

Xander Schauffele of the United States plays his shot from the first tee during the third round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 18, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. Picture: Andrew Redington, Getty Images via AFP

Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa shared the PGA Championship lead after the third round on Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky while Shane Lowry made an epic charge up a jam-packed leaderboard and Scottie Scheffler lost ground.

Schauffele, who held the solo lead after the first two rounds, birdied the final two holes at Valhalla Golf Club en route to a three-under-par 68 that left him at 15 under on the week and level with twice major winner Morikawa (67).

“I need to really just stay in my lane and do a lot of what I’ve been doing and just worry about myself,” Olympic champion Schauffele, seeking his first major, said about his approach for Sunday’s final round.

Seven players are within four strokes of the leaders, including Sahith Theegala (67), who made five back-nine birdies and sits alone in third place.

Former British Open winner Lowry, whose 62 matched the lowest score in major championship history, LIV Golf’s Bryson DeChambeau (67), who eagled the final hole, and Viktor Hovland (66) were two shots off the lead.

Schauffele was fresh off draining a 29-foot birdie putt at the 14th to open a two-shot cushion before encountering trouble at the par-four 15th where his second shot found the long rough, leading to a double-bogey.

Moments later, playing partner Morikawa’s birdie putt from five feet at the same hole circled around the cup then dropped in, giving him a one-shot lead.

“Felt like I made a couple putts, hit a couple good shots, got away with a few, still left a few out there,” said Morikawa. “A balance of everything.”

But Schauffele refused to back down and went on to tap in for birdie at the par-four 17th after his brilliant approach shot from 141 yards settled two feet from the cup. He and Morikawa both birdied the last.

Englishman Justin Rose, who has recorded five consecutive top-15 finishes at the PGA Championship, also moved into the mix with five front-nine birdies en route to a 64 that left him three shots back of the leaders and sharing seventh place with Robert MacIntyre (66).

Major History

Lowry, bolstered by a sublime putting display, became only the fifth player to card a 62 at a major and came just short of a record-setting day as his 11-foot birdie putt at the 18th rolled just left of the hole.

“Probably the most disappointed anyone can ever be shooting 62,” said Lowry. “I knew what was at stake. Just didn’t hit the ball hard enough. Had it on a good read and just broke away from the hole.”

DeChambeau capped his round in brilliant fashion when he chipped in for eagle from 32 yards at the par-five 18th, prompting a major fist-pump from the 2020 US Open champion and massive roar from the fans.

“Exhilarating,” DeChambeau, who this week started a major with three consecutive rounds in the 60s for the first time in his career, said of the eagle chip. “I haven’t felt like that in a long time.”

According to Elias Sports Bureau, 12 of the last 13 PGA Championships were won by a player who was leading or within two shots of the 54-hole lead, the lone exception coming in 2022 when Justin Thomas came back from seven shots.

Rory McIlroy, eager to snap a 10-year major drought and who arrived at Valhalla among the favourites, used a string of four birdies around the turn to enter the fray before his putter cooled and he settled for a 68 that left him seven shots back.

“I need the putter to sort of heat up again, and with everything else it’s doing, there’s certainly another low one in me,” said world number two McIlroy.

Scheffler’s Streak Ends

Jordan Spieth breathed life into his bid to complete the career Grand Slam of golf’s four majors this week as he carded a four-under-par 67 that brought him to eight under on the week.

Brooks Koepka’s hopes of becoming the PGA Championship’s first repeat winner since he successfully defended the title in 2019 took a hit as the LIV Golf player shot a five-over-par 68 the left him 11 shots back of the co-leaders.

Twice champion and Louisville native Justin Thomas (67) nearly eagled the final hole but settled for a birdie to reach 10 under on the week.

“I have done the most important part of putting myself at least within striking distance, and I’m going to need a really good front nine tomorrow to work my way in the mix,” said Thomas.

World number one Scheffler, who began the day at Valhalla three shots off the lead, saw his streak of 42 consecutive rounds at par-or-better come to an end as he settled for a two-over 73 that left him eight shots adrift.

The reigning Masters champion, chasing a fifth win in six starts, was playing a day after being arrested on four counts, including second-degree assault of a police officer, after what he said called a “big misunderstanding” outside Valhalla.

Reuters

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Ed Osmond, Cynthia Osterman and Lincoln Feast.

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