Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele are on track to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, closing the third round of play with a five-stroke lead.

After a record opening-round score of 59 in the first day of four-ball play on Thursday, the Presidents and Ryder Cup teammates scorched the back nine at TPC Louisiana with eight birdies to finish with a 12-under 60 for the day.

The two lead the field at an extraordinary 29-under after three rounds, with the South African duo of Garrick Higgo and Branden Grace five strokes back in second, improving on a solid second day to put themselves in the frame from Presidents Cup selection this year.

The pair will be seeking to go one better than their countrymen Louis Ooosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, who finished second at TPC Louisiana last year to Australian pair Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman.

Another Australian pair looking to work their way into calculations for Quail Hollow in September are Jason Day and Jason Scrivener, who improved on scores of 65 over the opening two rounds with a nine-under 63 on Saturday, birdieing the final four holes to sit on 23-under.

They're joined by the team of Aaron Rai and David Lipsky, along with Sam Burns and Billy Horschel, who bounced back from a bogey on the par-three ninth to close the back nine with five birdies.

Cantlay and Schauffele have been the stars of the weekend, however.

After blitzing the 54-hole record, only a catastrophic final round of alternate play would deny the reigning FedEx Cup and Olympic champions from smashing Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown's 72-hole record of 27-under.

Closing out on Sunday would make for maiden PGA Tour win this season for both Schaffele and Cantlay, with the latter coming into this weekend off a playoff loss to Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage.

Though Schauffele claimed the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year, his last tour win came in 2019.

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele were in imperious form at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Thursday, shooting a 13-under 59 to lead after the opening day.

The reigning FedEx Cup and Olympic champions paired up to produce a tournament record, since the Zurich Classic shifted to a team format in 2017.

While the effort won't officially be added to the list of sub-60 rounds in the PGA Tour record books, the Presidents and Ryder Cup teammates were clearly comfortable in Thursday's best-ball format.

Thursday was the first of two four-ball sessions at TPC Louisiana this weekend, and the duo went seven under over the front nine, including an eagle from Cantlay on the par-five second hole.

Three birdies each from Cantlay and Schauffele on the back nine saw them close a scintillating opening round on 13-under for the day.

As is the case with best-ball format, though, the sub-60 score has not translated into a commanding lead after the opening day, against what is a packed field.

Matthew NeSmith and Taylor Moore are a solitary stroke back after 18 holes, while three teams are locked at 11 under – Aaron Rai and David Lipsky, Tommy Gainey and Robert Garrigus, and the pairing of Doc Redman and Sam Ryder.

Sam Burns and Billy Horschel are a further stroke back at 10 under, along with the team of Bubba Watson and Harold Varner III.

Recent Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and partner Ryan Palmer shot a seven-under 64, but with 10 of the world's top 20 golfers in the field, Cantlay and Schauffele will not be short on competition heading into Friday's alternate format.

Cantlay and Schauffele are comfortable in the alternate format also, though, holding a 4-0 record from the 2019 Presidents Cup and 2021 Ryder Cup.

Declan Rice believes a green jacket would be an ideal complement to claret and blue for West Ham fans Billy Horschel and Francesco Molinari.

England and West Ham footballer Rice sent the loyal Hammers a message of good luck on Thursday, with the Masters getting under way at Augusta National.

Neither Horschel nor Molinari hail from West Ham's traditional east London catchment area, but both have made public declarations of love for the Premier League club.

Horschel, a 35-year-old American, became a West Ham supporter during his days in college and used a golf bag bearing club colours and the team's crest during last year's Open Championship.

Molinari first began following West Ham in 2009 when his friend and fellow Italian Gianfranco Zola was manager of the team.

Rice said, in a message posted on West Ham's Twitter page: "Billy, Francesco, all the best this week in the Masters.

"Me and the boys will be rooting for you. Hopefully one of you can get the green jacket. All the best. See you soon."

Horschel finished tied for second at the recent Arnold Palmer Invitational and is up to 13th in the world rankings. He has only ever spent one week higher on that list, when he briefly held down number 12 in 2014, and headed into the Masters with high hopes, looking to improve on his best performance of tied-17th in the 2016 tournament.

He was due off in a starry afternoon group alongside Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa, both two-time major winners.

Molinari, the 2018 Open champion, has struggled for results of late and was among the early starters on day one, joining 1987 Masters winner Larry Mize and Austria's Sepp Straka in the third group out.

West Ham had a major assignment of their own to look forward to on Thursday, tackling Lyon in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka will face off in the last-16 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, after they secured progression from the group stage on Friday.

Top-seed Rahm was defeated 3 and 2 by Patrick Reed, who was already eliminated, while Koepka needed a birdie on the last hole to beat Shane Lowry and go 3-0 in group play.

Scottie Scheffler and Billy Horschel set up a replay of last year's Match Play final, after they won their respective groups.

Following a loss to Ian Poulter in the second round of play, Scheffler recovered strongly to defeat Matt Fitzpatrick 5 and 4, before then taking the playoff out with both at 2-1. Horschel tied with Thomas Pieters after 18 holes to guarantee his place.

Dustin Johnson went 3-0 in the group, after he was able to see off a closing two birdies from Max Homa and win 1-up.

He will face 49-year-old Richard Bland, who went 2 and 1 over countryman Lee Westwood to finish Group 9 with two wins and a tie.

Seamus Power lost his final game to Keith Mitchell in Group 4, but still managed to top the group and secure a last-16 tie against Tyrell Hatton. In the process, the 35-year-old Irishman has also secured his first Masters appearance.

Collin Morikawa secured passage to the knockout phase, defeating Jason Kokrak 1-up, while Adam Scott, Abraham Ancer, Kevin Kisner also managed to make the last-16.

Meanwhile at the Corales Puntacana Championship, Ben Martin leads Alex Smalley by two strokes after 36 holes, shooting another six-under 66 for the day.

Scottie Scheffler backed up last month's Phoenix Open triumph by taking out the Arnold Palmer Invitational by one stroke after a final round of 72 at Bay Hill on Sunday.

Scheffler carded an even-par round with three birdies and three bogeys to finish five under and one shot ahead of Viktor Hovland, Billy Horschel and Tyrrell Hatton – who stormed 10 places up the leaderboard with a final-day 69 to earn a tie of second.

The 25-year-old Scheffler made his move on the third day, with a five-under 68 launching him into contention. American Scheffler will now move up to fifth on the official world rankings.

Joint overnight leaders Horschel and Talor Gooch lost their grip on top spot, with the former making three bogeys and a double bogey on his final-day front nine before finishing with a three-over 75.

Gooch ended up two further strokes back with a five-over 77 after four bogeys and two double bogeys on his front nine.

Norwegian world number four Hovland loomed as the likely player to capitalise on their misfortune, as he assumed the lead.

But five bogeys in Hovland's closing 11 holes left the door open for Scheffler, who held his nerve, notably making an excellent long putt to save par on the 15th hole.

"It feels great, especially to win on such a difficult golf course and the way it finished," Scheffler told Sky Sports.

"I didn't play my best stuff, I just kept grinding and made some key putts down the stretch, and it was really just a fight all day."

First-round leader Rory McIlroy never threatened on Sunday, with a four-over-76 meaning he finished back at one over after 72 holes.

World number one Jon Rahm was one stroke behind the Northern Irishman after a final-round 74.

Norwegian world number four Viktor Hovland surrendered his lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with two bogeys to finish the third day at Bay Hill on Saturday.

Hovland, who was the leader at halfway, carded a three-over 75 with six bogeys, saving face with a hole-out eagle from the bunker on the sixth and birdie on the eighth.

The Norwegian had retained his lead until bogeys on 17 and 18 allowed American pair Billy Horschel and Talor Gooch to claim a share of the lead.

Horschel and Gooch are seven-under after 54 holes, with Hovland one stroke back, followed by Scottie Scheffler at five-under after he carded a joint round-high four-under-68.

"I was really in a good rhythm until some bad shots on the back nine," Hovland told reporters.

On his hole-out eagle, he added: "That was awesome. Obviously, not the greatest start to the day. Even the pars that I made on the next few holes was really scrappy. Hit some really bad shots.

"Then obviously walking up to the greenside bunker on that hole was hard on the downslope and no green to work it. I thought I was in no man's land, just try to chunk it out there and give myself a putt at it. It came out really soft and landed in the first cut and just died and went in."

Horschel carded a one-under-71 to claim the joint lead, with three bogeys and four birdies, including closing out with an important birdie putt.

Gooch had an even round for 72, bogeying the 18th to settle for a share of the lead after he had birdied both the 15th – with a 33-foot putt - and 16th.

Scheffler surged up 16 spots and into contention with a round that included three birdies and an eagle on his back nine. The American rolled in a 21-footer for eagle on the 16th.

Max Homa, playing alongside Scheffler, landed a rare ace on the 14th hole although he is off the pace with an even card overall in a group featuring top-ranked Jon Rahm.

Gary Woodland is behind Scheffler at four-under, with Rory McIlroy among a group of three at three-under ahead of the final day.

Rory McIlroy leads the season-ending DP World Tour Championship after the opening round, but Race to Dubai frontrunner Collin Morikawa was Thursday's big winner.

A seven-under 65 gave McIlroy a two-stroke advantage at the top of the leaderboard at Jumeirah Golf Estates, with Tapio Pulkkanen, Joachim B. Hansen and Christiaan Bezuidenhout in a three-way tie behind him.

McIlroy, whose 14th and most recent European Tour win came at the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2019, made a flying birdie-eagle start and only dropped a single shot all day at the ninth.

After turning in 31, the Northern Irishman protected his day-one advantage over a steady back nine.

McIlroy, who beat Morikawa at the CJ Cup last month, believes he has "got [his] golf game back" since contributing only a single point to Europe's Ryder Cup defeat.

"I'm just excited for the road ahead, because I feel like I'm on the right path," he said.

But the main focus this week is on the Race to Dubai, in which McIlroy is 20th and out of the running.

First-placed Morikawa has competition chiefly from fellow American Billy Horschel this week following Jon Rahm's withdrawal, although four other players could also yet scoop the seasonal title with 2,000 points on the line in Dubai.

Of the six contenders, Morikawa is best placed heading into Friday after his four-under 68 secured a share of fifth.

Crucially, Horschel endured a difficult start as three bogeys across four holes on the back nine set him back and he carded a two-over 74 – a hugely damaging deficit given his need to outperform Morikawa.

Rounds of 70 for Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick and Paul Casey kept the English trio in the mix, although each need to win and see Morikawa struggle. Min Woo Lee, the sixth man in contention, has work to do from even par.

Cameron Smith carded a nine-under-par 62 to set the early pace by one stroke after the first round of the RBC Heritage.

Australian golfer Smith turned in a bogey-free round at Harbour Town on Thursday for the lowest score of his PGA Tour career.

The 2020 Masters runner-up birdied three of the last four holes, just missing an eagle at the last when his approach shot missed the hole by inches. 

Smith finished with nine birdies in the opening round, tying his career record for most birdies in a single round on Tour.

"Everything just came together," Smith told reporters. "It was a great day on the green. I was hitting my irons really good. I had lots of good looks, and I just took advantage of them."

Smith's score matched the lowest opening round in tournament history, joining Davis Love III in 2002 and Peter Lonard three years later. 

The 27-year-old has two career PGA Tour titles, the most recent in January 2020 at the Sony Open in Hawaii. 

"I just feel really comfortable," Smith said. "Mentally I feel very free out there. I feel like I can hit the shot that I need to hit and going ahead and trying to execute it. I just feel like every shot I'm hitting, I'm putting 100 per cent into it, and on a day like today, it's really rewarding."

Two-time champion Stewart Cink started early and was the clubhouse leader with a 63 before Smith's torrid closing stretch left him second on the leaderboard. 

Cink's score on Thursday was the American veteran's best in 75 career rounds at Harbour Town. 

"A round like this doesn't show you there is more out there," Cink said. "A round like this shows you what you're doing is already dead on, and why change anything?"

Matt Wallace and Collin Morikawa are three shots back at six under, followed by Charles Howell III, Billy Horschel and Harold Varner III – who are a stroke further adrift.

Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris shot a three-under-par 68, while world number one Dustin Johnson ended the day eight shots off the pace.

Defending champion Webb Simpson opened his bid for back-to-back titles with a first-round 71, leaving him tied for 67th. 

Billy Horschel held off Scottie Scheffler to win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play for the first time in his career.

Horschel was the last man standing in Austin, where the American outlasted 2020 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Scheffler in Sunday's final 2 and 1.

It was a Horschel and Scheffler showdown after the former had beaten Victor Perez 3 and 2 in the semis, while the latter advanced 1up against 2013 champion Matt Kuchar.

Horschel – the 32nd seed – secured his sixth PGA Tour title at the 17th hole following almost four hours on the course, with the final only featuring two birdies between the pair.

Kuchar, meanwhile, clinched third place by beating Perez 2 and 1 in the play-off.

"I got lucky that I had two guys that were like me, that didn't have their A game today or even maybe their B game," Horschel said. "We didn't hit very good golf shots this morning or even this afternoon and that allowed me to just be smart and not have to be aggressive and try and make birdies.

"Now, if Scottie would have got hot with some iron shots and started making birdies that puts a little bit of pressure on me. But it was just a tough day with this wind, trying to get close to some of these pins and the greens firming up as we played.

"So I'm fortunate. I had two guys today that missed some putts from inside 10 feet that they probably would make the majority of the time and that's obviously why I'm standing here as a champion."

Scheffler – the 30th seed – added: "I'm proud of the way I fought all week. My game was trending in the right direction pretty much the entire time, and this afternoon was really the first time I didn't play my best.

"I think this afternoon was probably my worst round out of the last four. So I grinded it out. I fought really hard and I just wasn't able to make the putts this afternoon."

Billy Horschel, Matt Kuchar, Scottie Scheffler and Victor Perez are all vying for a spot in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play final after a day of upsets in Austin.

Stars Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia surprisingly crashed out in the quarter-finals as the underdogs ruled on Saturday.

The unpredictable tournament continued on the weekend after world number one Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed were unable to advance beyond the group stage.

Spanish third seed Rahm topped Erik van Rooyen 3 and 2 in the last 16 before being upstaged by Scheffler 3 and 1 in the quarter-finals at the Austin Country Club.

"I felt like I played some really good golf," said Scheffler, who will meet Kuchar in an all-American clash for a spot in Sunday's decider. "I think I kept things bogey-free and I got some early leads and made sure that I kept the pressure on those guys and made them feel like they had to do something special to beat me, which they weren't able to do."

Fleetwood – the 21st seed – succumbed to Horschel after 19 holes, while former Masters champion Garcia was beaten by 31st seed Victor Perez 4 and 3.

American golfer Horschel and France's Perez will do battle in the semis.

Englishman Fleetwood was sent packing after hitting a hole-in-one during his last-16 victory – a drive out of bounds at the 12th seeding him come unstuck in the quarters.

It was a big day for 2013 champion Kuchar, who eliminated former world number one Jordan Spieth 1up before defeating Brian Harman 2 and 1.

Kuchar – the 52nd seed – was runner-up in 2019, with last year's event cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Certainly golf's a funny game and I think there are times as a professional where you can feel so far away, you think, golly, I don't have it," Kuchar said.

"I'm racking my brain trying to find it, but then you plug in the right ingredient, the right key, and then all of a sudden it snaps back, and thankfully it's been working and I'm seeing progression. It's just finally now it's clicked and it's a lot more fun this way, I assure you."

Collin Morikawa added the WGC-Workday Championship to his growing list of achievements after triumphing by three strokes.

Winner of last year's U.S. PGA Championship, Morikawa used a three-under-par 69 to seal victory at the star-studded World Golf Championships event in Florida ahead of Viktor Hovland, Brooks Koepka and Billy Horschel on Sunday.

Morikawa holed four birdies and just one bogey to finish 18 under for his fourth PGA Tour crown – the most by any player currently aged under 25.

He also joins Tiger Woods as the only player to win a major championship and WGC event before turning 25.

Further to that feat, Morikawa is the seventh player to claim four or more PGA Tour tournaments – including a major – under the age of 25, following in the footsteps of Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Jerry Pate.

The overnight leader by two strokes, Morikawa recovered from a slow start after bogeying his second hole of the final round – the 24-year-old American birdieing three of five holes before the turn as he ended the day without dropping another shot.

Norwegian star Hovland mounted a serious title charge following a five-under par 67, but he was unable to stop Morikawa.

Hovland finished tied for second alongside four-time major champion Koepka (70) and Horschel (70) at The Concession Golf Club.

McIlroy's final-round 71 saw the former world number one and four-time major winner slip down into a tie for sixth, six strokes adrift of Morikawa.

Defending champion Patrick Reed (72) ended the co-sanctioned PGA and European Tour tournament a shot further back.

Justin Thomas (71) earned a share of 15th at eight under, a stroke better off than U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau (69).

It was a forgettable finish for world number one Dustin Johnson, who closed proceedings with a six-over-par 78.

The two-time tournament winner plummeted 12 positions to T54 at five over the card.

Collin Morikawa's hot putting saw him soar into a two-stroke lead following the third round of the WGC-Workday Championship.

Morikawa went on a birdie blitz, recording seven across an eight-hole stretch and eight in total to surge to the top of the leaderboard at The Concession Golf Club on Saturday.

Despite birdieing his penultimate hole, American golfer Morikawa leads the field at 15 under through 54 holes in Florida, where the star-studded World Golf Championships are taking place.

A three-time PGA Tour champion and winner of last year's U.S. PGA Championship, Morikawa leads by two shots after three for the second time on Tour – the 2019 3M Open.

Brooks Koepka and Billy Horschel (69) are Morikawa's nearest challengers heading into Sunday's final round.

Koepka carried a one-stroke advantage into the penultimate round, but the four-time major champion saw his lead evaporate following a two-under-par 70.

The American star bogeyed his opening two holes before recovering with four birdies, including a flawless back nine.

Webb Simpson (69) is 12 under, while four-time major winner Rory McIlroy catapulted himself into contention thanks to a six-under-par 66.

McIlroy improved eight positions, moving into a tie for fifth – four shots behind Morikawa – courtesy of an eagle and seven birdies, which outweighed his bogey and double bogey.

Defending champion Patrick Reed is also 11 under alongside McIlroy after his third-round 69.

Hideki Matsuyama (68) – tied for seventh at 10 under – has not recorded a three-putt through 54 holes at the tournament and he extended his tour-leading streak without a three-putt to 221 consecutive holes.

World number one and two-time champion Dustin Johnson recorded back-to-back 69s to move into a tie for 42nd – 16 strokes off the lead.

Brooks Koepka fired a six-under 66 to grab a one-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the WGC-Workday Championship.

The four-time major champion made seven birdies and one bogey at The Concession Golf Club in Florida on Friday to move into 11 under.

Koepka holds a 36-hole lead or co-lead on the PGA Tour for the eighth time in his career as he eyes a second World Golf Championships title.

The American made three straight birdies from the 15th before dropping his only shot of the round at the last.

Koepka is a stroke clear of Collin Morikawa (64), Billy Horschel (67) and Australian Cameron Smith (66).

Morikawa, last year's US PGA Championship winner, produced the equal best round of the day, with Bryson DeChambeau – who is tied for 20th – also shooting a 64.

Overnight leaders Webb Simpson and Matt Fitzpatrick both slipped back into a tie for fifth after firing 69s, sitting at nine under alongside Tony Finau (67).

Defending champion Patrick Reed carded another 68 to be at eight under alongside Kevin Kisner (69).

Rory McIlroy shot a two-under 70 to get to five under and into a tie for 13th, with Justin Thomas (66) also among that group.

A six-time WGC winner, Dustin Johnson improved on his opening-round 77, carding a 69 that sees him sitting at two over.

England's Matt Fitzpatrick and American Webb Simpson took a share of the lead in a star-studded field at the WGC-Workday Championship.

World number 16 Fitzpatrick carded a six-under 66 without dropping a shot on day one at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida.

Ninth-ranked Simpson closed a clean back nine with three straight birdies and a par to climb up the leaderboard and match the 26-year-old Englishman's score.

Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka dropped his only shot at the par-four 16th, but is alongside three others at five under.

Americans Kevin Kisner and Billy Horschel also carded 67s and were joined in third place by 2017 Masters winner Sergio Garcia, who drained a round-high eight birdies.

World number two Jon Rahm and Patrick Reed were among six players tied in seventh at four under, along with Tony Finau.

Adam Scott saw a potential hole-in-one come back off the flag at the sixth and shot an up-and-down even-par 72, while Justin Thomas recovered from dropping four shots in three holes to close with three birdies in the last four to sign for a one-over 73.

World number one Dustin Johnson posted a pair of double bogeys on his way to a five-over 77. That score was matched by US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, who dropped shots on seven holes.

Rory McIlroy made a decent start, shooting a three-under 69 to sit in a tie for 13th.

The first World Golf Championships event of the season kicks off the Florida swing of the tour, heading towards The Players Championship starting on March 11.

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