RICKIE Fowler shot a blistering 9-under 63 on Saturday to take a two-shot lead over Rory McIlroy, who carded the low round of the day with a 62 at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas.
Fowler sits at 21 under heading into Sunday’s final round at the Summit Club. McIlroy made the biggest leap on moving day, shooting up 17 spots for sole possession of second at 19-under 197.
Robert Streb (65), Australia’s Adam Scott (67) and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer (63) are tied for third at 18 under, three shots back.
Keith Mitchell, who owned a five-stroke lead after 36 holes, dropped into a tie for sixth after a 73. He sits at 17 under, tied with England’s Tyrell Hatton (67), four shots back.
Fowler followed opening 66s with a clean round, posting five birdies on the front nine and four more coming in.
“I’ve done everything I really wanted to do the first three days. It’s nice to be executing the way we are,” Fowler said. “It’s just been a long time coming. I haven’t been in this position a whole lot in the last couple years, so to feel the emotions again on the back nine being around and then in the lead, you know, kind of dealing with that again and kind of making sure that I was going through the right process and committing to what I was ultimately trying to do, it was great to see that I was still executing and hitting the shots that I wanted to.”
But as good as Fowler’s round was, McIlroy’s was even better, thanks to an eagle on the par-5 18th hole. McIlroy of Northern Ireland recorded six birdies on the front nine, including five in a row, and finished with eight.
“I played an eight-hole stretch yesterday in even par, I made eight pars in row. Then today, I played a stretch of golf, played nine holes in 6 under and all of a sudden, you feel a little better about yourself,” McIlroy said. “The big thing is I’ve played the last two days keeping it in the short stuff and I haven’t made any bogeys. That’s huge… I can’t remember the last time I played a round of golf without a bogey and now, I’ve played two rounds in a row, so that’s nice to see.” — Reuters