Grillo on top

Source: AFP Published: 2020/12/6 16:33:40

Argentine clings to PGA Mayakoba lead as rivals close gap

Emiliano Grillo of Argentina plays a shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic on Saturday in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Photo: VCG


Argentina's Emiliano Grillo clung to a one-stroke lead after Saturday's third round of the PGA Mayakoba Classic with ­Americans Justin Thomas, Adam Long and Tom Hoge and Norway's Viktor Hovland charging into contention.

Grillo, who began the day with a four-stroke lead, fired a three-under-par 68 to stand on 16-under 197 after 54 holes at Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

"It's a positive thing - start on the lead, finish on the lead. That's the idea," Grillo said. "One more of those. That's the plan tomorrow, finish with the lead."

Hoge, chasing his first PGA victory, birdied five of the last six holes to grab second on 198 while Hovland matched his career-low PGA round with a 63 for third on 199.

"I really tried to be determined to make good, confident swings and putting strokes the whole way in," Hoge said. "Got a few going finally."

Long was fourth on 200 after a 63 and Thomas, the 2017 PGA Championship winner, fired a bogey-free 62 to share fifth on 201 with Patrick Rodgers.

World No.171 Grillo, who matched a PGA career low with a 63 on Friday, opened with a birdie and added more at the par-five fifth and seventh holes.

But after bogeys at the par-three 10th and par-four 12th, his lead was trimmed to a single shot.

Grillo, whose only PGA title came at the 2015 Open, responded with birdies at the par-five 13th and par-three 15th, rolling in an eight-foot putt to stretch the lead to two over Hovland, taking his first 54-lead on the tour.

Hovland opened bogey-birdie, birdied four of the last five holes on the front nine and four of the final six on the back nine to grab second.

"I was able to hit a lot of good iron shots and had a lot of good looks at birdies, and missed my fair share of them to be honest," Hovland said.

Thomas began his round on the back nine and birdied three of his first five holes then added another at 17 and closed with birdies on five of six holes before reaching 18, where he missed the green but saved par with an eight-foot putt.

After starting the day 10 adrift and upset with his second round, Thomas attacked the course and it paid off.

Long birdied seven of the first nine holes, leaping into second place by starting with back-to-back birdies and reeling off five in a row from the fifth hole.

Long, whose only PGA title came at the 2019 Desert Classic, took his first bogey at the par-four 11th but answered with birdies at the par-four 14th and 17th.

Tony Finau aced the par-three fourth with a gap wedge and shot 69 to finish in a seventh-place pack on 202.

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