A four-under 67 saw Seamus Power climb to tied 16th on moving day at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, while Rory McIlroy’s frustrations continued as the three-time champion shot a level-par 71.
Starting the day tied for 28th at -3, Power was slow out of the blocks, his short game saving him on the opening two and a missed short-range birdie chance at the third seeing him cover the early holes in level-par.
He’d bogey the fifth, before a birdie blitz saw him pick up strokes at seven, eight and nine, making the turn at -2 for the day. Of the three successive birdies, the third was the highlight, leaving himself a seven-foot birdie putt on the 508-yard par-4, and the West Waterford man was motoring nicely.
He’d record four pars at the start of the back nine, before back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th saw him move to -4 for the round, ending the day tied for 16th at -7.
Earlier in the day, Rory McIlroy had followed his two-over second round with a level-par third to end the day tied for 50th at -1. Three birdies were offset by three bogeys as the world number three’s inconsistencies continued at one of his favourite venues. Any outside hopes of a weekend charge are long gone, and preparation for the PGA Championship at Oak Hill is the primary focus in round four.
Wyndham Clark stormed to the 54-hole lead, courtesy of a Saturday 63 that saw him post -16 to lead Xander Schauffele by two with 18 holes to go. Still searching for his first PGA Tour win, the Colorado man has been knocking on the door for some time, but the moving-day round to separate himself from the pack was a clear signifier that he’s ready to take his career to the next level.
The two-stroke lead over Schauffele is good for a further three-stroke advantage over Adam Scott and Tyrell Hatton in third, with Harris English, Tommy Fleetwood and Sungjae Im tied for fifth at -10.
Clark’s 16-under total after three rounds sees the 29-year-old set a new scoring record at Quail Hollow, but he’s taking nothing for granted as he takes the solo 54-hole lead in a top-tier event for the first time in his career.
“I’m excited to see how I handle the pressure tomorrow,” Clark said. “It’s going to be a fun challenge. Obviously, it’s going to be tough; I’ve got one of the best players in the world right behind me and a bunch of other good players. I’m just really looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.”
“It’s just one of those things out here,” Schauffele added after playing with Clark. “I feel like I’ve said it before in interviews, you just see someone doing it. Fortunately it was the guy next to me that I played all day. Once these guys out here see someone do it, they just end up doing it. Like when it’s really cold and rainy, you feel like, man, I feel like 3 under would be a good score, then some shoots 7 under and then all of a sudden 3 under’s in like 30th. So guys are really good out here. Monkey see, monkey do is definitely a thing that happens out here.”
Stalking the final two-ball, Adam Scott is primed for a final-round challenge, and feels that his game is perfectly set to do so.
“Yeah, I think it’s the best I’ve played this week all around, to be honest,” the former Masters champion said. “I hit some fairways today and that was nice because I hadn’t seen them yet. And yeah, I thought I played really solid, the kind of round you’d want. But when the guy’s leading and he lights it up, left searching a little bit like what do I need to do? However, it’s tough. I think the course was gettable today, the tee boxes were up and the pins were kind of in the “go” zone, so we’ll see how they set it up tomorrow. Good front nine and hopefully get within striking distance tomorrow.”
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