PGA Championships: Theegala third as Schauffele, Morikawa lead; Scheffler falls back

Louisville (USA), May 19 (IANS) Indian American Sahith Theegala put himself in perfect position to make a bid for his maiden Major, as he was sole third and one shot behind Xander Schauffele (68) and Collin Morikawa (67) after three rounds of the 106th PGA Championships. Theegala after 65-67 on the first two days, turned in a 67 on third to 14-under as Morikawa, winner of 2002 PGA and 2021 Open, is looking for a third Major, and Schauffele seeking his first Major, was at 15 under.

Theegala may have just one PGA TOUR win to his name, but he has been second twice this season and both times in Signature events (The Sentry and RBC Heritage).

The 26-year-old Theegala’s best Major finish has been T-9 on his Masters debut in 2023, leads the Par-3 scoring has scrambled well from the rough, and is the best this week in 3-putt avoidance.

With three others, the 2019 Open winner, Shane Lowry (62), the 2020 US Open winner, Bryson DeChambeau (67) and Viktor Hovland (66) at 13-under, and two more, the 2013 US Open winner Justin Rose (64) and Robert MacIntyre (66) at 12-under, there are eight players with three off the lead.

Yet the man missing from this mix is World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who had his streak of par or under rounds broken after 42 rounds. He went four-over for three holes between the second and fourth and ended the day at 2-over 73 and was T-24 at 7-under.

The top Asians were Tom Kim (68) and Hideki Matsuyama (70) at 8-under in T-19th place.

Scheffler coming off after a tense second round that included an arrest and a brief visit to the jail, before carding 66 never really recovered from his disappointing start in the third round.

“Too many mistakes,” Scheffler told CBS, as he skipped speaking to reporters. “I came out here hoping to have a good round and didn’t get it done.”

He opened with a par and then went double bogey-bogey-bogey for the next three holes and never recovered from there. There were three pairs of birdie-bogey on 7-8th, 10th-11th, and 13th-14th, and finally closed with a birdie for a 73.

Schauffele, who lost the lead for the first time in the third round when he made a double bogey at No. 15, caught up with two closing birdies as Morikawa made birdie at the 18th a little before him.

This was Schauffele’s first scoring three rounds under par at a major championship and his lowest 54-hole score in a major.

Schauffele also held the third-round lead/co-lead at the Olympics in Tokyo where he won the gold medal, and with teammate Patrick Cantlay en route to winning the 2022 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He also held a one-stroke lead entering the final round of last week’s Wells Fargo Championship and went on to finish second behind Rory McIlroy (68), who was T-19 after three days here in Valhalla.

Lowry, who won in Zurich in the company of McIlroy, had a brilliant round of 62 that had nine birdies, six on the front side of the course, and three more on the back nine.

–IANS

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