The American Kurt Kitayama kept the reins of the Florida tournament (-9) on Saturday by battling throughout the 3rd round. Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler are on his heels (-8) but many big players can still claim the trophy as the leaderboard is tight.
He had gone upside down with a bad go (+3). And then, without panicking, Kurt Kitayama straightened up to get back in par on this third round and preserve the reins of the tournament, notably by returning a nice birdie at 18. The American is not, however, not safe from much, especially if we look at the pedigree of his pursuers.
Viktor Hovland had already put on a show in the second round with a hole-in-one, the fourth of his career. This Saturday, the Norwegian was not limited to a bang. Royal in the bunkers, even returning an exit at 14, Viktor Hovland led the dance for a long time (-8), his card of 66 being the co-best of the day and the lowest of his career on this course: “My game is back in place. When you take the fairways and touch the greens, it’s still easier. »
Scottie Scheffler had a less linear day but he finished it with the same total score as the Norwegian. The world No. 2 was in par at the end of the 11 but he finished with five birdies in seven holes, signing a solid 68, card identical to that signed during the first round: “I remained patient, which allowed this Saturday to achieve a big finish on a course where the greens are very fast and difficult to putt. »
McIlroy in ambush
In 18 holes, Tyrrell Hatton has completely changed the face of his tournament. Erased on the first two laps (-1), the Englishman tore the course this Saturday (-6 with 6 birdies), rediscovering the magic which had allowed him to win in Florida in 2020. Enough to place two leader’s units.
If Jon Rahm (+4 on Saturday, like the day before) continued to sink (+1 overall), this moving day allowed other players to get back on their feet. This is particularly the case of Rory McIlroy, winner here in 2018, and Harris English, both three strokes behind Kurt Kitayama.
More unknown, Pierceson Coody (-6 on the day), who discovered the PGA Tour last week at the Honda Classic with Parker, his twin brother, made his way between the big shots. He is, for the moment, on par with Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas (-5): “I have nothing to lose, everything to gain. I’m playing on the PGA Tour. I couldn’t be happier. This Sunday promises to be grandiose as the contenders for the final victory are numerous and seasoned.