West Australian Min Woo Lee has maintained his position inside the top 10 on the leaderboard as driving rain made the US PGA Championship challenge at Oak Hill even tougher in Round 3.
The day’s best round – a 4-under 66 – has given four-time Major champion Brooks Koepka a one-stroke lead from Viktor Hovland (70) and Corey Conners (70), Lee seven strokes back and one of six players at 1-over through 54 holes.
Seeking his first top-10 finish in a Major championship, Lee (71) entered red figures in spectacular fashion on Saturday.
A day after holing a 77-foot putt at the par-3 fifth, Lee drained a birdie putt from just inside 44 feet at the par-3 11th to move into a share of eighth position.
With momentum at his back, a poor tee shot at the par-5 13th brought Lee’s charge to a screeching halt.
A miss left resulted in a penalty stroke, the 24-year-old forced to play his fourth shot still 253 yards from the hole.
His double-bogey 7 would be the worst score on a hole playing under par in Round 3 and pushed the top of the leaderboard further from reach.
Lee missed an eight-footer for birdie at the short par-4 14th, made a 10-footer for par on 15, two-putted for par on 16, made an up-and-down for par on 17 and then narrowly missed a birdie from 19 feet on 18.
A day after speaking about playing “gritty” golf, Lee displayed again his ability to produce his best golf under the most intense pressure.
Adding to Lee’s incentive for a strong finish on Sunday is the knowledge that a solo 27th finish or better would secure Special Temporary Membership of the PGA Tour for the remainder of the season.
Cam Davis and Kiwi Ryan Fox are both one shot back of Lee in a tie for 16th after matching rounds of 1-over 71.
Paired with Dustin Johnson, Davis was 1-under on his round when he made birdie from six feet at 16 but dropped shots at both 17 and 18 to end the day 2-over for the tournament.
An even-par round of 70 moved Cameron Smith up 21 spots and into a tie for 27th while Lucas Herbert (72) and Adam Scott (74) are in a share of 42nd at 6-over par.
Round 3 scores
T10 Min Woo Lee 73-67-71—211
T16 Ryan Fox (NZ) 68-73-71—212
T16 Cam Davis 71-70-71—212
T27 Cameron Smith 72-72-70—214
T42 Lucas Herbert 75-69-72—216
T42 Adam Scott 68-74-74—216
Final Round tee times AEST
12.10am Adam Scott, Adam Hadwin
12.30am Lucas Herbert, Tom Hoge
2am Cameron Smith, Hayden Buckley
2.50am Cam Davis, Hideki Matsuyama
3am Ryan Fox (NZ), Kurt Kitayama
3.10am Min Woo Lee, Patrick Reed