Thomas holds slender lead in Mexico, brilliant Rahm breaks course record

By Sports Desk February 22, 2020

Justin Thomas holds a one-shot lead after an eventful third round at the WGC-Mexico Championship that included Jon Rahm breaking the course record.

After scores of 67 and 66 over the previous two days, Thomas continued going in the right direction by signing for a 65 on Saturday, moving him to 15 under par.

The American started and finished his work with bogeys, yet in between had eight birdies to put himself clear at the top of a high-class leaderboard and in pole position for his third title of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season.

Erik van Rooyen and Patrick Reed head the chasing pack after both signed for 67s at the Club de Golf Chapultepec.

Van Rooyen had moved into contention at the halfway stage with a 62 that tied the course record – but Rahm went one better to climb to 11 under.

The Spaniard made a brilliant start with birdies at six of his first seven holes and following three more after the turn, he produced a stunning hole-in-one at the par-three 17th, his tee shot dropping into the cup on the second bounce.

"With the start I had today, the only thing in mind was trying to get as close as possible to the leaders," Rahm – whose solitary blemish during a spectacular day came at the eighth – said after the lowest score of his professional career.

"If I had a good finish, I was going to have a chance tomorrow, and that's kind of what gave me a second wind on the back nine."

Rahm is tied for fourth alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy (68) and halfway leader Bryson DeChambeau, who followed up Friday's 63 with a 71 that included a double-bogey seven after finding water at the sixth.

Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey are a further shot back on 10 under.

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    The South Korean carded an eight-under 64 in the final round at the PGA West Stadium Course to finish at 23 under.

    It was enough for Kim to win his first PGA Tour crown since May 2017 and third overall.

    Kim's win came despite a spectacular final round from Patrick Cantlay, who fired a stunning 11-under 61.

    Cantlay broke the course record on the back of 11 birdies.

    Australian Cameron Davis finished outright third after a fine eight-under 64 in the final round.

    Tony Finau and Max Homa were tied for the overnight lead with Kim, but they slipped back to finish fourth and tied for 21st respectively.

    Abraham Ancer (66), Michael Thompson (66) and Doug Ghim (69) finished at 15 under.

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    Hatton started the day a stroke adrift of Rory McIlroy, but finished in dominant fashion to secure his fourth Rolex Series title.

    The Englishman made a dream start to the 2021 Race to Dubai, closing with a six-under round to end the week well clear on 18 under.

    Jason Scrivener matched world number nine Hatton in posting a 66 thanks to an impressive back nine, seeing him finish in second place, a shot ahead of McIlroy.

    Hatton's triumph ensured he equalled Jon Rahm's record of Rolex Series successes, having also won the 2017 Italian Open, 2019 Turkish Airlines Open and 2020 BMW PGA Championship.

    He made three birdies on the front nine and as many after the turn to seal a sixth European Tour victory at a canter.

    McIlroy finished on 13 after signing for a level-par 72, with four bogeys frustrating the Northern Irishman after two gains from his first three holes.

    Scrivener went out in 37, but got on a roll after the turn, sparked by an eagle-three at the 10th, followed by five birdies.

    Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello took fourth place on 12 under, while Tommy Fleetwood dropped back into a share of seventh on 10 under.

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    The American, whose only previous PGA Tour win came at the Puerto Rico Open in 2016, fired a five-under 67 in the third round in California on Saturday.

    Finau was four under through 12 holes in his round before finding water and making a double bogey at the par-three 13th.

    But he responded in style, reeling off three straight birdies to get to 15 under – which sees him share the lead with Max Homa (65) and Kim Si-woo (67).

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    Homa, meanwhile, had a double bogey after finding water on the seventh, while Kim went through bogey-free on the PGA West Stadium Course, which hosted the third round.

    Richy Werenski (65) is a shot back of the leading trio, while Russell Knox (64), Brian Harman (67) and Emiliano Grillo (68) are at 13 under.

    Cameron Davis (66), Rory Sabbatini (67), Chase Seiffert (65), Francesco Molinari (69) and Doug Ghim (69) are tied for eighth.

    Molinari, the 2018 Open Championship winner, is playing for the first time since last year's Masters, having missed five cuts in seven events in 2020.

    Overnight leader Im Sung-jae slipped back to a tie for 20th after finding the water three times during his round, including twice at the ninth.

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