June 03, 2018: On a Saturday night that stoked the imaginations of Indian golf fans, Anirban Lahiri produced a rousing performance to move up the order. He went as high as T3 at one stage in the third round. A patchy back nine compromised him late in the day, but even then a second straight 69 helped Anirban to T21. Bryson DeChambeau also put ink to imagination, crafting a 66 to take a one stroke lead over Patrick Cantlay, Kyle Stanley and Joaquin Niemann.
DeChambeau turned it on over the final stretch, raking in four birdies in the last six holes to take pole position for the final round.
“Just keep thinking about those two 3-footers I missed,” said DeChambeau. “I played great, obviously. Ecstatic about where I am.” With scores of 69, 67 and 66 the mercurial golfer is at 14-under 202.
Anirban got off to a blinding start. The Indian is clearly aching to show he belongs and a pair of birdies at the start fueled his ambitions. At the fifth, Anirban set up a third, with a brilliant wedge that left him inches short of an eagle.
A bogey at the par-4 sixth hole was a short blip, before Anirban forged ahead with a hattrick of birdies. He took just 31 strokes to sail past the bend.
Anirban threatened to tear the script to pieces, but the course squeezed the Indian extracting strokes at the 10thand 11th. He went into the right rough at the 10th and sailed into the water at the 11th hole, making consecutive bogeys.
A brilliant approach shot at the 14thhelped Anirban set up another birdie and he made the short putt without any fuss. The approach shot at the 17thleft him nearly 30 feet from the flag and Anirban needed two from there to absorb a fourth bogey.
Byeong Hun An was primed for a strike on Saturday, but he made 69 and settled into T5. He was the highest placed Asian on the leaderboard.
The Japanese star made another 71 on Saturday, to remain inside the top ten despite losing three more spots. Si Woo Kim completed the Asian quartet inside the top twenty, shooting 70 in the third round.
Finally, Rory McIlroy flew into a zone that we have always known him to be capable of. The Northern Irishman was flirting with the knife on Friday, but there were no such woes in the third round.
McIlroy shot six birdies and an eagle to post the low score of the day. He rode that wave of a 64 to climb up to T11, just six strokes behind the leader at 8-under 208.
Bryson DeChambeau -14
Patrick Cantlay, Kyle Stanley, Joaquin Niemann -13
Byeong Hun An -12
Justin Rose -10
Whee Kim, Tiger Woods, JB Holmes, Hideki Matsuyama -9