Tour Championship: Viktor Hovland builds big lead and closing on FedExCup victory at East Lake | Golf News

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Xander Schauffele sits in second place and Collin Morikawa shares third with Keegan Bradley; Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Wyndham Clark in tied-fifth as Viktor Hovland closes on FedExCup victory; watch the final round live on Sunday from 5pm on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 27/08/23 8:30am


Highlights from the third round of the Tour Championship from the East Lake Golf Course

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Highlights from the third round of the Tour Championship from the East Lake Golf Course

Highlights from the third round of the Tour Championship from the East Lake Golf Course

Viktor Hovland is closing in on back-to-back PGA Tour titles and FedExCup victory after taking a commanding six-shot lead heading into the final round of the Tour Championship.

Last week’s BMW Championship winner shared top spot with Collin Morikawa heading into the weekend of the season finale but pulled clear of the field during a weather-disrupted third round at East Lake.

Hovland mixed five birdies with a lone bogey during an impressive four-under 66 to move to 20 under, leaving him comfortably ahead of closest challenge Xander Schauffele and in prime position to secure the $18m jackpot.

When asked about his form, he said: “I don’t think I’ve ever played this well before, with this stretch, just putting all the short game and stuff together. I feel like I’ve hit the ball better than I have this week and even last week.”

Hovland shares the mindset that has helped him open up a six-shot lead heading into the final round of the Tour Championship

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Hovland shares the mindset that has helped him open up a six-shot lead heading into the final round of the Tour Championship

Hovland shares the mindset that has helped him open up a six-shot lead heading into the final round of the Tour Championship

Schauffele posted a two-under 68 to sit in second ahead of Morikawa and Keegan Bradley, who birdied two of his last four holes to salvage a level-par 70, with world No 1 Scottie Scheffler among those in the group tied-fifth after struggling to a three-over 73.

Hovland takes control of Tour Championship

After the final pair opened with back-to-back pars, Hovland missed a 10-foot birdie look at the third and Morikawa failed to convert from a similar distance at the next as neither was able to grab the advantage.

Collin Morikawa was playing alongside Hovland in the final group on Saturday at East Lake

Collin Morikawa was playing alongside Hovland in the final group on Saturday at East Lake

Morikawa carded his first dropped shot of the tournament when he hit a poor chip into a bunker on his way to a double-bogey at the fifth, gifting Hovland a two-shot lead with a par, only for Schauffele to make three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the fourth to close within one.

Hovland ended a run of pars by posting back-to-back birdies from the sixth, which put him four clear when Schauffele bogeyed the eighth, with the Norwegian squandering a 10-foot look on the same hole after a stunning recovery from the fairway bunker.

Xander Schauffele will play in the final group on Sunday

Xander Schauffele will play in the final group on Sunday

Schauffele started his back nine with an eight-foot birdie but dropped a shot at the 12th after a wayward tee shot left him punching out of the trees, with Hovland staying four ahead when play was halted at 5.28pm local time (10.28pm BST) for 75 minutes due to the threat of lightning.

Hovland made the dream start when play resumed as he followed a 10-foot birdie at the 12th by converting from double the distance at the next, which briefly saw him move seven ahead when Schauffele missed from five feet to save par at the 15th.

Schauffele responded by making a 12-foot birdie at the 16th, allowing him to close within five when Hovland bogeyed the 14th after an errant drive and poor approach, only for the leader to bounce back himself by pouring in from 15 feet at the par-three next.

Hovland squandered birdie looks from inside 10 feet on each of his last three holes but remained six ahead and in control after Schauffele could only par the last, with Bradley and Morikawa a further stroke back heading into the final day.

The 25-year-old admitted winning the trophy would be “pretty special”.

“It feels more like a sprint. Obviously, it’s a marathon getting into this week. But it’s hard to win the FedExCup if you haven’t played well the last few weeks.” he said.

Hovland threatened to extend his lead further over the closing holes

Hovland threatened to extend his lead further over the closing holes

Meanwhile, Schauffele still remains hopeful, saying: “I need to go out and try and put as much pressure on him [Hovland] tomorrow on that front nine as I can and hope for the best. He’s just playing unbelievable golf.”

US Open champion Wyndham Clark and Masters winner Jon Rahm share fifth spot on 11 under with FedExCup leader Scheffler, who carded his only birdie of the day on the final hole, with Rory McIlory a further two strokes back in a share of eighth after a one-over 71 dropped him to nine under.

McIlroy: Focus now on getting 100 per cent ready for Irish Open

Rory McIlroy says he is 'not too concerned' about the back injury he has been battling throughout the Tour Championship

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Rory McIlroy says he is ‘not too concerned’ about the back injury he has been battling throughout the Tour Championship

Rory McIlroy says he is ‘not too concerned’ about the back injury he has been battling throughout the Tour Championship

McIlroy has been battling a back injury this week but said he is “not too concerned” as he prepares to return to Europe for the Irish Open, BMW PGA Championship and Ryder Cup.

“I feel better today than I have for the rest of the week,” the 34-year-old told Sky Sports.

“I’m still a little limited in what I can do, but I felt like I could stand my posture a little bit better, which was great.

“Hopefully I’ll finish the PGA tournament with a good score, and then focus on getting myself some treatment so I’m 100 per cent ready for the Irish Open.”

Who will win Tour Championship? Watch the PGA Tour’s season finale and the race for the FedExCup live on Sunday from 5pm on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour and more for £26 a month for 12 months with NOW.

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