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Hero World Challenge: Collin Morikawa takes five shot lead, inches closer to top spot

Morikawa, who had rounds of 68-66 on the first two days, is currently 18-under 198 with one day of action left at the Albany Golf Club.

Published: 05th December 2021 08:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th December 2021 08:32 PM   |  A+A-

Collin Morikawa reacts to his par on the 18th hole Day 3 of the Hero World Challenge PGA Tour at the Albany Golf Club, Bahamas

Collin Morikawa reacts to his par on the 18th hole Day 3 of the Hero World Challenge PGA Tour at the Albany Golf Club, Bahamas. (Photo| AP)

By PTI

NASSAU (BAHAMAS): American golfer Collin Morikawa inched closer to victory and the coveted World No.1 spot with a stunning 64 in the third round to take a massive five shot lead at the Hero World Challenge here.

The 24-year-old, who recently became the first American to finish a season as the European Tour's No.1 player, had a round studded with six birdies and an eagle. It was also the first bogey free round of the week.

Morikawa, who had rounds of 68-66 on the first two days, is currently 18-under 198 with one day of action left at the Albany Golf Club. A win here will help the youngster topple Jon Rahm from the top spot in the World Rankings, albeit for a week before the Spaniard once again returns to the top because of a two-year rolling formula.

Starting the second place overnight, Morikawa grabbed the lead as overnight leader Bryson DeChambeau, who struggled through the day, bogeyed the first hole. Morikawa chipped in for eagle on the third and ran away from the field.

He added birdies on the fourth and the ninth and then on the back nine he birdied four times. Reflecting on his game, Morikawa said: "I called my coach this morning and I said yesterday that the driver wasn't working. Figured out a little thing on the range and still wasn't working great, but found something on 16, just something that I can use for tomorrow, and everything else feels pretty good from there."

The HWC debutant said he will stick to the plan that has worked for him all week despite a massive lead. "I think the game plan I have so far, it's not like I'm playing crazy or I'm playing stupid, I'm playing to my strengths and that's what I have to stick with. I'm going to keep doing what I do and if I don't feel comfortable on a tee shot, maybe play back, but overall I feel really good about the game so far," he said.

Brooks Koepka (69), DeChambeau (73), Tony Finau (70) and Daniel Berger (66) came close to the top alongside Morikawa. But they all withered away later. Koepka showed signs of being closer than five shots as he had three birdies in the first four holes but could not convert many of the chances that came his way.

He had a double bogey on the par-3 eighth hole and had only two birdies on the back nine. His 69 saw him placed sole second and he plays with Morikawa in the lead group in the final round. DeChambeau started the third round with a one-shot lead but that evaporated quickly.

He hit a spectator at the back of the green but it turned out to be a good break as it rebounded back and rolled off a slope onto the putting surface about 15 feet. But he was unable to capitalise on it and three-putted for bogey.

He had three birdies and four bogeys for a 73, one of the only three over par scores that included Rory McIlroy, who also had a quadruple bogey nine on Par-5 11th. McIlroy (75) dropped from the first day shared lead to 18th among 20 players.

Daniel Berger recovered from a lost ball and double bogey on the par-5 third as he made two eagles, including one on Par-4 seventh. Sam Burns (64) and Berger were joined in a tie for third with Viktor Hovland (67), Patrick Reed (67)and Tony Finau (70).



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