Brooks Koepka is exactly where he expects to be heading into the final round of a major, particularly the US PGA Championship. 

After carding a two-under-par 70 on Saturday, Koepka sits one stroke back of leader Phil Mickelson at six under for the tournament, putting him in position to win his fifth major championship. 

Considering Koepka has been no worse than tied for fourth after 12 of the last 13 rounds at the PGA, his spot in Sunday's final pairing is familiar territory. 

"It just feels good, feels normal," Koepka told reporters after his round. 

"It's what you're supposed to do, what you practice for.

"I'm right where I want to be, and we'll see how tomorrow goes.

"Just be within three of the lead going into the back nine and you've got a chance."

Koepka trailed Mickelson by five strokes at one point Saturday but saw the five-time major winner slide back to him on the back nine. 

A bogey on 18 denied Koepka a chance to match Mickelson at seven under, but the 2018 and 2019 PGA winner is looking forward to a potential one-on-one showdown in the final round. 

"I can see what he's doing, and everybody else is in front of me, so I'll have a good idea on the leaderboard what's going on and just need to putt better -- simple," Koepka said.

"If I strike it anything like I did the last three days, I'll have a chance."

If he can pull it off, Koepka would become the first player to win the same major three times in a four-year stretch since Tom Watson captured the Open Championship title in 1980, 1982 and 1983.

Though the wind that had made scoring difficult at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course the first two days died down a bit Saturday, Koepka anticipates a challenging final round. 

"it's a tough golf course," he said. "I thought it definitely played easier for sure, but this golf course you can make one little mistake and it can be costly.

"That's why it's a major championship. I think this place is perfect for it, and it will be fun to watch tomorrow."

Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka both shot 70 Saturday to set up a mouth-watering final pairing at the US PGA Championship. 

At seven under par for the tournament, Mickelson holds a one-stroke lead over his countryman entering the final round at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course after saving par on 18 while Koepka bogeyed the last. 

The 50-year-old Mickelson is the fourth player aged 50 or older to lead a major after three rounds in the modern era, which began in 1934. 

The others were Tom Watson at the 2009 Open Championship, Greg Norman at the 2008 Open, and Julius Boros at the 1973 US Open -- none of whom ended up holding on for the win. 

Mickelson has been resilient this week in South Carolina, though, steadying himself Saturday after going bogey-double bogey on 12 and 13 to make par on the final five holes. 

While Mickelson's resurgence has excited the fans, Koepka remains a model of consistency at the PGA.

He has finished at least tied for fourth in 12 of the last 13 rounds at the major, and he could become the first player to win the same major three times in a four-year stretch since Watson won the Open in 1980, 1982 and 1983.

Mickelson will be shooting for his sixth major title and first since the 2013 Open, while Koepka seeks his fifth. 

Louis Oosthuizen, who shared the lead with Mickelson entering play Saturday, managed just three birdies on the day on the way to an even-par 72 that left him five under for the tournament. 

American Kevin Streelman (70) is at four under, while Oosthuizen's South African countrymen Branden Grace and Christiaan Bezuidenhout are at three under after even-par rounds of their own. 

Bryson DeChambeau (71) was unable to gain ground on the leaders and enters Sunday five back of Mickelson along with Gary Woodland (72) and Joaquin Niemann (71). 

Jordan Spieth matched Billy Horschel for the low round of the day with a 68, and he sits at even par for the tournament along with Rickie Fowler (69) and Keegan Bradley (72).

Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama fell from contention with a 76, putting him at one over with the likes of Shane Lowry (73), Padraig Harrington (73) and Ian Poulter (73). 

Phil Mickelson reached the turn at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course four shots clear of his nearest US PGA Championship rivals, before sinking a birdie on the 10th.

Mickelson – a PGA championship winner in 2005 – was in sensational form in South Carolina over the first two days and carried the same level of performance into Saturday's play.

He was four under through the first eight holes, though did make his first mistake of the day on the ninth, dropping his drive short and left of the green, but recovered to make par.

That had him on 32 through nine, with Louis Oosthuizen, tied for second on five under, going through in 36.

Tied with Oosthuizen were Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and Branden Grace, while Brooks Koepka was at four under when reaching the turn, but nosed himself up to T2 with a 12-foot putt.

But the chasing pack were further behind when Mickelson rolled a birdie putt in on the 10th to move to 10 under.

Phil Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen topped a leaderboard filled with major winners at the US PGA Championship, setting up a fascinating weekend at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. 

Mickelson started early and roared to the finish, carding five birdies on the back nine on the way to a 69 that left him at five under par for the tournament before Oosthuizen shot 68 in the afternoon for a share of the overall lead. 

Two-time US PGA winner Brooks Koepka (71) was one stroke back after recording a pair of eagles on Friday, followed by 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (68) at three under. 

Oosthuizen's fellow South Africans Branden Grace (71) and Christiaan Bezuidenhout (70) also were two back of the leaders. 

First-round leader Corey Conners (75) and 2019 U.S. Open winner Gary Woodland (72) were at two under, with reigning U.S. open champion Bryson DeChambeau (71) dropping back to one under after a bogey on 18. 

Players battled windy conditions throughout the day and had an especially difficult time with the last two holes.

Oosthuizen lost his chance to stand alone atop the leaderboard with a bogey on 18 that ensured no one would post a bogey-free round on the first two days of competition, while Grace dropped three strokes on 17 and 18 to mar an otherwise stellar round.

Rory McIlroy (72) saw a move for contention disintegrate with bogeys on the final three holes that left him eight back of the leaders entering Saturday, and Jordan Spieth (75) was in the same spot after bogeys at 17 and 18.

The four-time major champion Koepka had perhaps the most erratic day of any contender, carding just one birdie to go with his eagles at the seventh and 11th and four bogeys. 

Among the notables missing the five-over cut line by one stroke were Dustin Johnson (74), Sergio Garcia (73), Adam Scott (72) and Justin Thomas.

Former major winners also missing out on the weekend include Zach Johnson (78), Jason Dufner (81), Martin Kaymer (77), Rich Beem (77), Charl Schwartzel (79) and John Daly (86). 

The 2009 US PGA Championship winner, Y.E. Yang, was disqualified after signing an incorrect scorecard but would have missed the cut anyway. 

Phil Mickelson played himself right into contention to become the oldest major champion in history after taking the clubhouse lead on day two of the US PGA Championship.

The 50-year-old looked in good shape in his first round on Thursday and he went a step further on Friday, finding himself top of the leaderboard having gone around the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in 69.

It meant the American was on five under for the tournament, and he was leading by two shots shortly after he had finished for the day.

For much of Friday it looked as though Branden Grace was going to be in charge, the South African sitting pretty at six under for the tournament as he stepped up to the tee on the 17th.

But he finished his round with a double-bogey and a bogey as the breezy conditions took their toll on the two holes regarded as the toughest on the entire course, meaning he walked off after his final hole three under for the tournament.

Mickelson had similar issues on the same two holes earlier in the day after starting on the 10th, though the five-time major winner only dropped two shots across the 17th and 18th – it clearly was not enough of a wobble to really impact his mood.

The 2005 US PGA Championship winner has not had a single top-10 finish on the PGA Tour this season, but he has a great chance to end that here.

Opening up on his brilliant start at Kiawah Island, he said: "Physically I've felt as good as ever, I've been able to perform to play the shots, but I haven't been able to be as present or sharp mentally to visualise the shots I want to play.

"Meditation has been a big part of me being able to play the shots I want. It's gotten more difficult as I've got older to focus. Your mind is like a muscle, you have to exercise.

"That's what I've been doing, some days playing [as many as] 40-45 holes to make sure I can concentrate longer than just 18."

Mickelson carded five birdies after the turn, playing a huge role in putting him into contention to surpass Julius Boros as the oldest ever major winner at 48 in 1968.

Additionally, he is the first man aged 50 or over to be in top-five contention after 36 holes at a major since 2013.

His form here is made all the more remarkable by the fact he needed a special exemption to even qualify for next month's US Open, given his current ranking of 115.

"I'm having a lot of fun," he added. "To play well, to know I'm playing well heading into the weekend, to be in contention, to have a good opportunity, I'm having a blast. I'm excited for the weekend."

Ian Poulter looked to be putting himself into contention as well only to fall apart in the latter stages of his round, carding four bogeys in his final five holes – he was previously six under for the day.

Similarly, overnight leader Corey Conners' dropped down to two under for the tournament thanks to a difficult three-over second round.

Meanwhile, world number one Dustin Johnson will almost certainly not be returning on Saturday as he followed up a shocking first day with comparatively poor two over on Friday, leaving him on six over.

Jordan Spieth faces a nervy wait, he sits at four over following a second-round 75.

Corey Conners withstood hammering winds to claim a two-stroke lead following the opening round at the US PGA Championship as Brooks Koepka impressed but Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson struggled.

Prior to Thursday's first round in South Carolina, Conners' best position after any round of a major was equal sixth through 54 holes at this year's Masters at Augusta.

Conners bettered that at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, where the Canadian defied the wind to set the early pace with a five-under-par 67.

Without a victory since his solitary PGA Tour triumph at the 2019 Texas Open, Conners was almost flawless in gusty conditions, holing six birdies with just one bogey.

Conners' lead marks his third career 18-hole lead/co-lead on the PGA Tour (0-for-two to date) and first at a major. Earlier this season, the 29-year-old was tied for the first-round lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and finished third – his best result of the season.

Koepka ended day one in a share of second position alongside Keegan Bradley, Viktor Hovland, Aaron Wise, Sam Horsfield and Cam Davis.

Koepka has been plagued by injuries since winning back-to-back PGA Championships in 2019 and a fourth major title in three years – the American star underwent knee surgery in March before missing the cut at last month's Masters.

But Koepka impressed on Thursday, overcoming a slow start to shoot a three-under-par 69.

Koepka double-bogeyed his opening hole on the back nine, however, the four-time major champion only dropped one shot after that as he tallied six birdies.

He has opened the PGA Championship with a score in the 60s in each of the last six years, the longest such streak at any major in the modern era (since 1934), eclipsing Jack Nicklaus (five – 1972-1976 Masters).

Defending champion Collin Morikawa is a stroke further back alongside the likes of five-time major winner Phil Mickelson.

Big-hitting American and reigning U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau signed for an even-par 72 at the close of the first round, level with Jon Rahm and Justin Rose, while Masters holder Hideki Matsuyama, former world number one Jordan Spieth – eyeing a career Grand Slam – and Xander Schauffele shot 73s.

Jason Day and Patrick Reed were also further down the leaderboard as two-time PGA Championship winner McIlroy and world number one Johnson were powerless in the wind.

McIlroy – seeking a first major trophy since 2014 – recorded a three-over-par 75, which included six bogeys and just three birdies.

Justin Thomas also went three over for the day, while Johnson finished with two double-bogeys and a bogey in a forgettable four-over-par 76 display.

Keith Mitchell leads Rory McIlroy by two strokes following three rounds of the Wells Fargo Championship, where Bryson DeChambeau endured a whirlwind 24 hours.

American golfer Mitchell carded a five-under-par 66 to surge to the top of the leaderboard at Quail Hollow on Saturday.

Mitchell, whose solitary PGA Tour title came via the 2019 Honda Classic, was flawless in the penultimate round after holing five birdies without dropping a shot.

But four-time major champion McIlroy is lurking in Charlotte, where the two-time Wells Fargo Championship winner is two shots off the pace.

Former world number one McIlroy, who raced out to the lead, posted a three-under-par 68 to be tied for second position alongside Gary Woodland (70).

McIlroy was also two strokes back at the halfway stage of the tournament on Friday, having made the cut for the first time in two months.

A healthy crowd was in attendance to watch McIlroy lurk heading into the final round and the Northern Irish star – amid the coronavirus pandemic that has impacted attendances – said: "I sort of realised that it's hard for me to bring the best out in myself without that atmosphere that we had today. I'm excited to be in the position I'm in."

U.S. Open champion DeChambeau ended the day eight shots behind Mitchell following his third-round 68.

DeChambeau flew home to Dallas on Friday after thinking he missed the cut. When the cut changed, the American star boarded another flight back to Charlotte.

"It was funny," said DeChambeau. "We did a lot of scrambling last night to get back. One of the scenarios was like turning right back around, but the crew couldn't, you know, refuel and their hours were out. So we had to get a new crew, if anything, and it just didn't work out.

"So we're like, 'Well, let's just go in the morning'. So I left at 02:45am on a flight and I got here at 06:20am Drove 30 minutes to the golf course, put on my clothes in the locker room and headed out to the putting green. I did get a workout last night, though."

DeChambeau has a double-bogey or worse in each of his rounds at this year's Wells Fargo Championship. It is the fifth time in his career that he has recorded at least one double-bogey or worse in each of the first three rounds of a Tour event.

If there ever was a course to get slumping Rory McIlroy back on track, Quail Hollow might be it. 

McIlroy shot a five-under-par 66 Friday at the Wells Fargo Championship to make the cut for the first time in two months and reach four-under for the tournament, two strokes behind leaders Matt Wallace, Gary Woodland and Patrick Rodgers. 

First-round leader Phil Mickelson dropped to a tie for 10th overall after carding a 75 at the Charlotte, North Carolina course. 

Only Roger Sloan (64) went lower than McIlroy in the second round, as the 32-year-old recorded six birdies and just one bogey after shooting 72 in the first round. 

The Northern Irishman recorded his first PGA Tour victory at Quail Hollow in 2010 and won there again in 2015. He lost out to Rickie Fowler in a three-man playoff in 2012. 

McIlroy is playing his first tournament since missing the cut at the Masters and The Players Championship, the latter coming a week after a 10th-place finish at the Arnold Palmer invitational in early March. 

"When you played the way I played sort of through that stretch in March and into April, you're going to feel like you're not as close as you probably are," McIlroy told reporters. 

"But I worked hard after Augusta. I took a week off and reset, which I needed.

"Then I put my head down and worked hard and at least felt better about everything coming in here."

Among the three leaders heading into the weekend, Wallace shot 67 Friday, Rodgers 68 and Woodland 69.

Kramer Hickok is one stroke back at five-under for the tournament, while Scott Piercy, Keith Mitchell, Carlos Ortiz and Scott Stallings are tied with McIlroy at four-under. 

Mickelson and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson are among those at three-under, while 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed sits four back of the leaders. 

Justin Thomas is six back entering the weekend, while 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and 2020 Open Championship winner Shane Lowry just made the two-over cut. 

Among those who missed the cut were past major champions Fowler, Jason Day, Francesco Molinari and Lucas Glover  in addition to defending champion Max Homa and Jon Rahm.

Rahm had made 22 consecutive cuts, the longest active streak on Tour.

Phil Mickelson knows Quail Hollow as well as any course on the PGA Tour, and his comfort there was clear on Thursday as he earned a two-stroke lead in the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship. 

Mickelson carded a seven-under-par 64 to set the early pace in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the five-time major champion is looking for his first win in 17 consecutive appearances at the event. 

The 50-year-old has always played well there, though, finishing in the top five in half of his 16 previous starts at the tournament. 

Lee Kyoung-hoon and Keegan Bradley were two shots back after shooting 66s.

Mickelson recorded just one bogey on day one while carding eight birdies, including four of the last five holes. 

He won two Champions Tour events last year in his debut season on that circuit, but has not captured a PGA Tour title since winning at Pebble Beach in February 2019. 

Mickelson's last opening-round lead or co-lead came three weeks prior to that in Palm Springs, but he did not want to put any additional pressure on himself after Thursday's strong start.

"I don't want to jump ahead, I want to play a good round tomorrow," said Mickelson, who recorded his lowest score on Tour since a 63 in the second round of the 2020 Travelers Championship. "I have an opportunity to play a course I love with a great pairing.

"I'm playing well and I just want to kind of not get ahead of myself and go play another fun round."

Mickelson, who entered the week ranked number 115 in the world, has 30 career opening-round leads/co-lads – the second most on Tour since 1992.

American star Justin Thomas closed out the first round five shots off the pace, while U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and 2012 tournament winner Rickie Fowler are a stroke further back.

Former Masters champion Patrick Reed shot a 71 as Xander Schauffele and former world number one Rory McIlroy ended the day one over the card.

McIlroy – winner of the Wells Fargo Championship in 2015 – mixed three bogeys and two birdies on a challenging day for the four-time major champion.

Jon Rahm struggled following his opening-round 76, while defending champion Max Homa's bid for back-to-back titles started with a six-over-par 77.

Rory McIlroy said golf's biggest stars must rally around Tiger Woods by making regular trips to his Florida mansion and he would love to be part of the sport's Grand Slam club by his next visit.

After winning an Open Championship, a U.S. Open and two US PGA Championships early in his career, McIlroy returns to Augusta for another shot at Masters glory this week.

Woods, who suffered serious leg injuries in a February car crash, would love to be involved but is recovering at home after that brush with disaster and hopes to play competitive golf again.

The American superstar became the first player since the 1960s to win all four of the sport's majors in his career when he landed the Open title in 2000 at St Andrews.

With 15 career majors, Woods is unmistakably an all-time great, and McIlroy would become just the sixth player to achieve the modern Grand Slam should he land green jacket glory. Jack Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Gary Player are the players who achieved the feat before Woods came on the scene.

Speaking about the absent Woods ahead of Thursday's opening round, former world number one McIlroy said: "Hopefully, if his recovery goes well, who knows, he could be back in 12 months' time.

"He's always missed when he doesn't play in these big events, and that doesn't change this week, whether it's to do with his back or his leg or whatever it is.

"I know he's at home and he's fully focused on the recovery process, and I feel like he's mentally strong enough to get through that. And once he does, broken bones heel, and he's just got to take it step by step.

"I'm sure he's going to put everything he has into trying to be ready to play here next year. I went over and saw him, spent a couple hours with him, which was nice. It was good to see him. It was good to see him in decent spirits.

"When you hear of these things and you look at the car and you see the crash, you think he's going to be in a hospital bed for six months. But he was actually doing better than that. A few of us that live down in South Florida went to see him. I'm sure he appreciates that.

"I think myself, JT [Justin Thomas], Rickie [Fowler], DJ [Dustin Johnson], Brooks [Koepka], all those guys down there, we all have a responsibility to try to keep his spirits up and keep him going and try to get him back out here."

Nothing would give McIlroy more pleasure than being able to visit Woods as a Masters champion, with that Grand Slam monkey off his back. He has six top-10 finishes at the event in the last seven years, which shows what he has to offer.

The Masters is the mountain he has been unable to quite climb, meaning the 'Rory Slam' has yet to be completed.

"If I were able to do it, I'd join a very small list of golfers in history that have been able to do it. So I know where it would put me in the game and how cool it would be, and I would love to do it one day," McIlroy said.

"But for me to do that, I just have to go out and try to play four good rounds of golf on this golf course. I've played a bunch of really good rounds on this golf course before, but just not four in a row."

McIlroy revealed his visit to Woods' home in late March was an eye-opener, in terms of learning how his friend and rival has approached competing over the years.

"In his family room he's got his trophy cabinet and it's his 15 major trophies. I said, 'That's really cool. Where are all the others?'," McIlroy said.

"He said, 'I don't know'. I go, 'What?'. He said, 'Yeah, my mom has some, and a few are in the office and a few are wherever'."

It struck McIlroy, as he was driving home from that visit, that the majors were the be-all and end-all for Woods.

"I'm just thinking to myself, how easy must that have felt for him if all he cared about were four weeks a year. The other stuff must have been like practice. So that's like a really cool perspective to have, right," McIlroy said.

"That's all I could think about on the way home. And I was glad he was OK, too."

McIlroy has been working with coach Pete Cowen on simplifying his technique, saying he is "just at the start of a journey here that I know will get me back to where I want to be".

Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson is also taking part this week, the 50-year-old being a U.S. Open short of a Grand Slam himself.

His prospects of completing the full set look to be slim given he is not the force he once was, but Mickelson has the capacity to surprise and would love another Augusta challenge.

Many consider McIlroy's game to be well suited to The Masters, and Mickelson always knew his own skillset was perfect for the course.

"I never really doubted that I would end up winning this tournament," Mickelson said on Tuesday. "This is a course that is very well suited for the way I grew up playing, but that joy of winning it for the first time, finally breaking through, it's beyond belief."

American world number 99 Cameron Tringale backed up his strong opening day at the Texas Open with a three-under 69 on Friday to take a two-shot lead into the weekend.

Tringale, 33, has never claimed a PGA Tour victory but has set himself up perfectly, two shots ahead of three-time major winner Jordan Spieth and Matt Wallace.

The 12-year veteran bogeyed his opening two holes on Friday after sitting equal second after day one but responded with five straight birdies in his fourth to eighth holes.

"I just hit a lot of really good iron shots to those holes," Tringale said. “I think my furthest putt was 4 feet, so just good approaches to the green... I took advantage most of the time.”

First day leader Camilo Villegas slipped five shots back after shooting a 76, while Texas native Spieth looms after putting together two good days as he chases his first title since 2017.

The former world number one shot a two-under 70, although he started strong with two birdies including an approach within 10 feet on the first before slowing up.

"I thought the start was key for me, and I got off to a great start," Spieth said. "I put some really good swings on the ball after kind of being a little sloppy at the end of yesterday’s round."

He added: "I’m really pleased with where things are at, but they’re not where I want them to be at."

Equal second Wallace is another yet to win on the PGA Tour but he moved into contention after a four-under 68 which included no bogeys.

"Whenever you go bogey free, whatever golf course it is, it’s nice, but especially here," Wallace said.

A group of four players are two shots behind Spieth and Wallace, with Kevin Stadler, Kyle Stanley, Erik van Rooyen and Brandt Snedeker who had a birdie-birdie finish.

Matt Kuchar and Villegas are among the next group of six at four-under, while Charley Hoffman shot a day two best 66 to be tied at three-under.

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson was unable to recover from his horror first round which was ruined by taking a 10 on the 18th and missed the cut.

Colombian Camilo Villegas got the jump on the field on the opening day of the Texas Open after shooting an eight-under 64 with Jordan Spieth among those not far behind.

After starting on the back nine with a bogey, Villegas hit six birdies in seven holes, including sinking a 20-foot putt on his 13th to claim a solid lead at TPC San Antonio's Oaks Course on Thursday.

Villegas is two shots ahead of South Korean Sung Kang and American Cameron Tringale who both had a 66.

Three-time Major winner Spieth is equal third on 65, alongside Noh Seung-Yul and Hideki Matsuyama.

"Sometimes it goes your way, and sometimes it doesn't," Villegas said. "The last few years I've been up and down with many things. We keep showing up and the results start showing up."

Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson had a nightmare when he had a 10 on the par-five 18th to finish the day 15 shots back to end up 79.

Mickelson took two penalty shots and another three strokes trying to navigate a greenside stream and nearby rocks on the last and faces a battle to make the cut.

Kang started slow but hit an eagle on his 11th hole, jarring a 30-foot putt after two fantastic set-up shots on the par-five. He birdied three of his final four holes.

"I struggled a little bit with a new driver from the start, but I found a way to hit it on the back nine so started driving a lot better," Kang said.

Tringale made seven birdies including four on the back nine to finish with his six-under 66 to be firmly in contention.

Spieth had seven birdies and two bogeys in his round, including a bright start where he birdied three of his first five.

The Texan, who is now ranked 67th, is looking for his first win since the 2017 Open Championship.

"Overall with the score, I certainly would have signed up for five-under starting out," Spieth said.

"Five-under around this track is a good score. I'd take four more of them."

Matsuyama rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the eighth as he put together a strong round along with Noh, who is yet to make a cut this season.

Matt Jones is on track to end his PGA Tour title drought after reclaiming the lead following the third round of The Honda Classic as Aaron Wise crumbled.

Not since the 2014 Houston Open has Australian golfer Jones won on the PGA Tour.

But Jones is 18 holes away from snapping a seven-year drought and adding to his solitary Tour trophy after earning a three-stroke lead on Saturday.

Jones – who tied the course record in the opening round – carded a one-under-par 69 to move back to the top of the leaderboard at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

After mixing three birdies and two bogeys, Jones improved to 10 under through 54 holes, ahead of J.B. Holmes (67) and overnight leader Aaron Wise (75).

"I got a lot more experience, a lot more grey hair, and I've been in this situation before," Jones said.

"So hopefully I can just draw from that, and look back on that, and learn from that, and figure it out."

Wise led by three strokes heading into the penultimate round, which he stretched to six shots early on Saturday, but the American capitulated.

A double-bogey at the sixth hole set the tone for Wise, who tallied four bogeys on the back nine – including back-to-back to end the day and three of his last four holes.

Defending champion Im Sung-jae posted a third-round 69 to be tied for seventh spot, five shots adrift of Jones.

Phil Mickelson climbed 15 positions into a tie for 27th following a one-under-par 69 – the five-time major winner two under alongside the likes of former world number one Adam Scott (72).

Matt Jones tied the course record as the Australian sizzled to earn a three-stroke lead after the first round of The Honda Classic.

Jones was flawless on day one, carding a nine-under-par 61 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on Thursday.

The 40-year-old, whose sole win on the PGA Tour came via the 2014 Houston Open, did not drop a shot as he birdied nine holes, including three in a row to close out the round.

Jones equalled the course record, while posting the lowest round of his professional career to top the leaderboard ahead of American pair Aaron Wise and 2014 champion Russell Henley.

Since 2007, there have been 6,202 rounds played at PGA National – Jones (10.49 in this year's first round) and Tiger Woods (10.12 in 2012 final round) are the only players to gain over 10 total strokes in a round.

"I play golf for a living," Jones said in response to his round. "I mean, I should be able to shoot a good golf score occasionally. It doesn't happen as much as I want.

"But yes, I'm very happy with it. I was very calm, I was very relaxed out there. I'm normally a bit more amped-up and hyped-up and I had a different goal this week, to be a little more calm than normally and walk slower."

Steve Stricker, Cameron Davis, Kevin Chappell, Scott Harrington and Joseph Bramlett are five shots off the pace heading into Friday's second round.

Defending champion Im Sung-jae opened his bid for back-to-back titles with a first-round 68, while former world number one and 2016 winner Adam Scott is a shot further back.

Following runner-up finishes in his last two starts on the PGA Tour – Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship – Lee Westwood opened his Honda Classic campaign with a 70.

Rickie Fowler, who won the tournament in 2017, is also even par alongside Westwood, while five-time major champion Phil Mickelson is a stroke worse off.

Justin Thomas claimed a one-stroke victory at The Players Championship after a run of three birdies and an eagle across four holes unseated overnight leader Lee Westwood on Sunday.

World number three and American star Thomas – fuelled by a four-under-par 64 – headed into the final round at TPC Sawgrass three strokes adrift of Westwood.

Westwood (72) had finished second at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, trailing Bryson DeChambeau (71), who was his nearest competitor again at the end of Saturday's play.

Westwood would be a runner-up once more, but this time was bested by Thomas, who stormed into the lead thanks to a frantic spell.

Westwood lacked momentum throughout his round and was back at 12 under – one over for the day – at the turn when Thomas took flight.

Thomas bogeyed the eighth but responded with a birdie at the ninth and suddenly found form.

He made three at the par-four 10th and then, with the day's decisive putt, claimed the lead outright with an eagle from 19 feet at 11. Another birdie at the next hole secured breathing space.

Although Westwood recovered to end the day as he started it, at 13 under, there was only a brief Thomas wobble with bogey at 14 followed by birdie at 16.

Thomas, who has a single major title at the 2017 US PGA Championship, claimed a maiden triumph at The Players and returned to the winner's circle for the first time since August's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

It is also Thomas' 14th PGA Tour triumph, becoming the fourth player since 1960 to win 14 times on Tour before turning 28 – joining Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.

"I fought so hard today," said Thomas, who tied the lowest final 36-hole score in Players history with his 64-68 (132) over the weekend. "I stayed patient. It was probably one of the best rounds of my life, tee to green."

Brian Harman used a final-round 69 to finish tied for third alongside U.S. Open champion DeChambeau – two shots behind Thomas.

Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson (71) and Jason Day (73) were among the players to end the tournament 35th in the standings, 11 shots off the pace.

Dustin Johnson (71) – the world number one – climbed up into a tie for 48th at one under, a stroke better off than Jordan Spieth (75), who is still without a win since 2017.

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