European/PGA Tours

WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

August 02-05

Firestone Country Club, Akron, Ohio

$10,000,000

August 02-05

Firestone Country Club, Akron, Ohio

$10,000,000

Round 3

McIlroy and Poulter three shots back in Ohio

August 04, 2018

World Number Three Justin Thomas will take a three-shot lead into the final day of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after producing a stunning 67 on a day of tougher scoring at Firestone Country Club.

McIlroy and Poulter three shots back in Ohio, © Getty Images

- Getty Images

“I played well again today. I didn't get off to the start that I have been the last couple days, but made a good birdie on two after a not very good drive, but I got away with one. Made a couple bogeys there on the par threes with a pretty easy bunker shot, so that was a little upsetting. But overall I really, really played well in the middle of the round and made a lot of key birdies."

“It feels great. I felt like I had been close. Like I said, the results and the scores didn't show. I'm just happy to finally play this place well. Obviously I have a day left, but I played three really good days of golf. I'm glad I played it well for it to move next year. We still have a day left to just keep sticking to our game plan. I'm excited for the opportunity tomorrow. I guess it's been a little while in my eyes, but have a lot of really good players that are going to be chasing me down so I need to play well tomorrow.”

Thomas, who will defend his US PGA Championship title at Bellerive Country Club next week, has a star-studded chasing pack breathing down his neck, with 2014 champion Rory McIlroy and Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter in a tie for second on 11 under.

“Best I've hit it off the tee, and probably the best I've hit it overall," said McIlroy. "I hit some better wedge shots out there, which was good to see. Wish I could have converted a couple more of the chances, but it sort of all evened out. I holed a couple really nice putts for par in the middle of the back nine, so happy with that. The course is firming up a little bit. The greens are still receptive, but it's definitely playing a little bit tougher today than it has done the previous two days. Happy with everything."

“It's a great opportunity to test what I've been trying to work on this week, test it under the gun on a Sunday when you have a chance to win. I'm excited for it. I think it's going to be great prep for next week as well, so I'll obviously be fully engaged to try to win this tournament but knowing that if I play well tomorrow, it puts me in the right frame of mind going into next week as well.

“I mean, even when I'm getting myself out of position, I'm able to get myself back in position and get it up and down or hole a crucial putt for par. Yeah, it's been good. The more you can limit the mistakes around here, the better. I'm just probably going to need a couple more birdies tomorrow than I had today to have a chance.”

With the course firming up throughout the afternoon, the scoring average soared on day three but halfway co-leader Thomas seemed unfazed, mixing six birdies with three bogeys on Saturday to get to 14 under par.

McIlroy posted a bogey-free 67, with his birdies coming at the second, ninth and 17th on day three, while Poulter's 70 was made up of four birdies and four bogeys.

“The course is drying up a lot," said Poulter. "I didn't think it would dry this much, but when you look at the forecast, hot, blue sky today, definitely kind of changed some of the second shots into some of those pin locations, and it was tricky. A little bit of wind out there, a couple of tough pin positions, you definitely saw a different golf course today to what you did the first two days."

“Huge buzz. To be in contention, I've done it more probably this year than I have in previous years. It's a great feeling. That's why you practice, that's why you put the hours in and it's why you enjoy the game of golf, to get the adrenaline rush you get when you're right there having to hole a 15-footer or even a three-footer. It makes all the practice worthwhile. You can enjoy it and it's a great rush.

“Three out of four (WGC titles) would be amazing. I'm going to need some inspiration from Thursday, going clean, not making any mistakes and just have some fun. I'm in a great position, I'm enjoying my golf. It's great being up that end of the leaderboard.”

Major Champion Jason Day was another shot back on ten under after his third-round 69, which included a chip-in birdie at the short 15th.

Marc Leishman and Kyle Stanley were tied for fifth on nine under, one shot ahead of Spain's Jon Rahm and American Rickie Fowler, who made five birdies and no bogeys.

Pos.
Player
Nat
To Par
R1
R2
R3
Total
1
Justin Thomas
USA
-14
65
64
67
196
T2
Ian Poulter
ENG
-11
62
67
70
199
T2
Rory McIlroy
NIR
-11
65
67
67
199
4
Jason Day
AUS
-10
65
66
69
200
T5
Kyle Stanley
USA
-9
63
68
70
201
T5
Marc Leishman
AUS
-9
65
69
67
201
T7
Jon Rahm
ESP
-8
64
70
68
202
T7
Rickie Fowler
USA
-8
63
74
65
202
T9
Louis Oosthuizen
RSA
-7
68
66
69
203
T9
Tommy Fleetwood
ENG
-7
66
63
74
203
T11
Anirban Lahiri
IND
-6
65
70
69
204
T11
Brooks Koepka
USA
-6
66
70
68
204
T11
Luke List
USA
-6
65
68
71
204
T11
Patrick Cantlay
USA
-6
64
72
68
204
T11
Rafael Cabrera Bello
ESP
-6
68
67
69
204
T11
Si-Woo Kim
KOR
-6
64
68
72
204
T17
Aaron Wise
USA
-5
67
71
67
205
T17
Haotong Li
CHN
-5
66
67
72
205
T17
Matt Kuchar
USA
-5
68
70
67
205
T17
Tony Finau
USA
-5
68
66
71
205
T17
Webb Simpson
USA
-5
69
65
71
205
T22
Dustin Johnson
USA
-4
69
71
66
206
T22
Patrick Reed
USA
-4
66
70
70
206
T22
Ross Fisher
ENG
-4
67
68
71
206
T22
Sergio Garcia
ESP
-4
70
69
67
206
T22
Thorbjorn Olesen
DEN
-4
71
67
68
206
T22
Zach Johnson
USA
-4
69
70
67
206
T28
Bubba Watson
USA
-3
71
69
67
207
T28
Gary Woodland
USA
-3
67
71
69
207
T28
Kevin Na
USA
-3
65
72
70
207
T28
Phil Mickelson
USA
-3
66
69
72
207
T28
Tiger Woods
USA
-3
66
68
73
207
T28
Tyrrell Hatton
ENG
-3
68
67
72
207
T34
Henrik Stenson
SWE
-2
70
69
69
208
T34
Wade Ormsby
AUS
-2
69
71
68
208
T36
Alexander Noren
SWE
-1
70
73
66
209
T36
Cameron Smith
AUS
-1
70
70
69
209
T36
Daniel Berger
USA
-1
67
71
71
209
T36
Hideki Matsuyama
JPN
-1
67
72
70
209
T36
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
THA
-1
70
70
69
209
T36
Matthew Fitzpatrick
ENG
-1
66
70
73
209
T36
Patton Kizzire
USA
-1
68
67
74
209
T43
Adam Scott
AUS
Par
68
75
67
210
T43
Emiliano Grillo
ARG
Par
72
70
68
210
T43
Kevin Kisner
USA
Par
74
68
68
210
T43
Paul Casey
ENG
Par
68
71
71
210
T43
Russell Knox
SCO
Par
67
70
73
210
T43
Ryuko Tokimatsu
JPN
Par
68
71
71
210
T49
Alexander Bjoerk
SWE
1
69
71
71
211
T49
Andrew Landry
USA
1
70
67
74
211
T49
Brandon Stone
RSA
1
71
74
66
211
T49
Brian Harman
USA
1
71
68
72
211
T49
Jordan Spieth
USA
1
71
72
68
211
T49
Kevin Chappell
USA
1
71
72
68
211
T49
Pat Perez
USA
1
68
70
73
211
T49
Ted Potter Jr.
USA
1
70
66
75
211
T57
Brendan Steele
USA
2
73
69
70
212
T57
Bryson DeChambeau
USA
2
75
69
68
212
T57
Charley Hoffman
USA
2
69
70
73
212
T57
Francesco Molinari
ITA
2
70
72
70
212
T61
Austin Cook
USA
3
73
69
71
213
T61
Satoshi Kodaira
JPN
3
73
69
71
213
T63
Paul Dunne
IRL
4
71
68
75
214
T63
Xander Schauffele
USA
4
69
73
72
214
T65
Byeong-Hun An
KOR
5
68
72
75
215
T65
Jhonattan Vegas
VEN
5
70
75
70
215
67
Charl Schwartzel
RSA
7
71
72
74
217
68
Branden Grace
RSA
8
73
74
71
218
69
Shubhankar Sharma
IND
13
72
79
72
223
70
Jaco Ahlers
RSA
14
68
79
77
224
71
Kodai Ichihara
JPN
15
73
74
78
225
Pos.
Player
To Par
Total
1
Justin Thomas
-14
196
T2
Ian Poulter
-11
199
T2
Rory McIlroy
-11
199
4
Jason Day
-10
200
T5
Kyle Stanley
-9
201
T5
Marc Leishman
-9
201
T7
Jon Rahm
-8
202
T7
Rickie Fowler
-8
202
T9
Louis Oosthuizen
-7
203
T9
Tommy Fleetwood
-7
203
T11
Anirban Lahiri
-6
204
T11
Brooks Koepka
-6
204
T11
Luke List
-6
204
T11
Patrick Cantlay
-6
204
T11
Rafael Cabrera Bello
-6
204
T11
Si-Woo Kim
-6
204
T17
Aaron Wise
-5
205
T17
Haotong Li
-5
205
T17
Matt Kuchar
-5
205
T17
Tony Finau
-5
205
T17
Webb Simpson
-5
205
T22
Dustin Johnson
-4
206
T22
Patrick Reed
-4
206
T22
Ross Fisher
-4
206
T22
Sergio Garcia
-4
206
T22
Thorbjorn Olesen
-4
206
T22
Zach Johnson
-4
206
T28
Bubba Watson
-3
207
T28
Gary Woodland
-3
207
T28
Kevin Na
-3
207
T28
Phil Mickelson
-3
207
T28
Tiger Woods
-3
207
T28
Tyrrell Hatton
-3
207
T34
Henrik Stenson
-2
208
T34
Wade Ormsby
-2
208
T36
Alexander Noren
-1
209
T36
Cameron Smith
-1
209
T36
Daniel Berger
-1
209
T36
Hideki Matsuyama
-1
209
T36
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
-1
209
T36
Matthew Fitzpatrick
-1
209
T36
Patton Kizzire
-1
209
T43
Adam Scott
Par
210
T43
Emiliano Grillo
Par
210
T43
Kevin Kisner
Par
210
T43
Paul Casey
Par
210
T43
Russell Knox
Par
210
T43
Ryuko Tokimatsu
Par
210
T49
Alexander Bjoerk
1
211
T49
Andrew Landry
1
211
T49
Brandon Stone
1
211
T49
Brian Harman
1
211
T49
Jordan Spieth
1
211
T49
Kevin Chappell
1
211
T49
Pat Perez
1
211
T49
Ted Potter Jr.
1
211
T57
Brendan Steele
2
212
T57
Bryson DeChambeau
2
212
T57
Charley Hoffman
2
212
T57
Francesco Molinari
2
212
T61
Austin Cook
3
213
T61
Satoshi Kodaira
3
213
T63
Paul Dunne
4
214
T63
Xander Schauffele
4
214
T65
Byeong-Hun An
5
215
T65
Jhonattan Vegas
5
215
67
Charl Schwartzel
7
217
68
Branden Grace
8
218
69
Shubhankar Sharma
13
223
70
Jaco Ahlers
14
224
71
Kodai Ichihara
15
225