Defending champion Patrick Cantlay moved to the top of the leaderboard as Rory McIlroy lost ground on moving day at the BMW Championship.
McIlroy was the best player in the field for 17 of the 18 holes on Thursday at Wilmington Country Club, but a triple bogey set him back.
His second round was one of promise but things stalled on Saturday, with a cold putter the major problem.
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McIlroy dropped a shot on the first after a disappointing three putt - and it set the tone for the day. He dropped another shot on the second after his approach found the rough.
McIlroy’s putting has been much improved following work with Brad Faxon, but it was off colour on Saturday as he passed up birdie chances on three and four.
A huge roar greeted McIlroy’s first birdie of the day at six, as he drained a curling right-to-left effort.
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The ninth saw a third bogey of the round as he turned in 37. At that point his race looked run, but he found form on the greens on the back nine - and that appeared to filter through to the rest of his game.
Birdies on 12 and 13 got him back to level par for the day. A glorious approach to four feet on 16 set up a third birdie, while a drive of 370 yards on 17 helped move him to two-under for the round.
He split the fairway on 18, but his round was bookended by three-putts as a bogey dropped him to seven-under for the tournament.
Third Round Leaderboard
- 1. Patrick Cantlay, 112-under
- T2. Xander Schauffele, 11-under
- T2. Scott Stallings, 11-under
- T4. Adam Scott, 10-under
- T4. Scottie Scheffler, 10-under
- T6. Collin Morikawa, nine-under
- T6. Aaron Wise, nine-under
Cantlay is the man to catch, seemingly intent on retaining his BMW Championship title and FedEx Cup crown.
His long game and iron play was superb, while he holed for an eagle from the fairway and drained a couple of monster putts. But he kept the field in the hunt by missing three short putts in a round of 65 as he moved to 12-under.
Cantlay is one shot clear of his playing partner Xander Schauffele, while Scott Stallings shrugged off the attention of playing with McIlroy to also get to 11-under.
Collin Morikawa is hunting his first win of the year and he is firmly in the mix after a 65 on Saturday took him to nine-under. The 2021 Open champion said before the event that his swing was getting back to where it should be, and he is peaking for the Tour Championship.
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While McIlroy’s putter was cold on Saturday, Jon Rahm’s was red hot. He has struggled on the greens in recent weeks, but he drained a string of good putts in a round of 65 to get to five-under. He is likely too far back, but his confidence will be boosted ahead of next week’s Tour Championship.
Jordan Spieth got into a share of the lead mid-way through his front nine, but things unravelled when he found water on the fifth.
His caddie Michael Greller tried desperately to talk his man out of taking on the shot from the bunker, but Spieth went for broke and ended in the drink.
A double bogey was followed by three other bogeys on the outward nine as he dropped to four-under.
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