Finau leads WGC-HSBC Champions after Round 3

Finau leads WGC-HSBC Champions after Round 3

Finau leads WGC-HSBC Champions after Round 3

Tony Finau is often associated with power, but in Round 1 of the WGC-HSBC Champions it was his putting touch - and perhaps some good fortune - that helped him get near the lead.

He reclaimed one shot at the 13th, commenced his purple patch at the 16th before flirting with a hole-in-one at the par-three 17 and slotting a 10-foot birdie putt at the last to move to 13-under 203 for the tournament. The ball landed on a sprinkler, shot high in the air and rolled over the back and into the hazard.

However, Rose then finished double-bogey, bogey and Finau took full advantage by following a birdie at 16 with birdies on 17 and 18.

Tommy Fleetwood was in a group of five on four under while defending champion Justin Rose was on three under along with Ian Poulter and Matt Wallace.

"I felt really good about every part of my game mentally, physically". I knew I was playing well still and still at the top of the leaderboard. "Just got to put that last couple holes behind me and come out a little bit angry tomorrow".

He lies two shots clear of his nearest rivals Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele, with his fellow Americans achieving six-under-par rounds. Then, he hit into the water on No. 6 and had to scramble to make bogey.

He just missed the birdie putt. "It was possibly an eight-under round with the chances that I had", said the world number three. It was hard to keep the mistakes off the card completely today. But it's been a big year for him.

Patrick Reed had a Ryder Cup he'd like to forget and spent three weeks at home in Texas preparing to finish the year strong.

Fleetwood birdied the 18th hole to join Reed and Rose at 8-under 136. He was five behind.

Brooks Koepka, in his debut at No. 1 in the world, didn't deliver much excitement.

Dustin Johnson wouldn't figure to contribute to that opportunity. He was 14 shots behind. Finau shot a 71 Sunday, while Schauffele had the low score of the day with a 68.

Beginning on the back nine, McIlroy was at one stage forced to play a left-handed shot on the 16th.

The victory for Schauffele is his third in the last eighteen months, and it crescendoed.

Schauffele won twice in his first year on the PGA Tour to win rookie of the year.

"I feel like my attitude is like this a lot". He posted a number and made birdie on a playoff hole when it counted.

He had several other good looks at birdie, and as good as his 64 was on Thursday, it was about the worst he could have shot. "I didn't give up and that's always my mentality, just keep fighting until the end". But he couldn't quite hold on for what would have been his second PGA Tour victory, and certainly his biggest, after winning the Puerto Rico Open in 2016. "But there's a long ways to go".

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