Rickie Fowler of the US set himself up for his first victory in more than a year, grabbing a four-shot lead after the third round of the Honda Classic in Florida on Saturday.
Fowler birdied two of the final three holes to jump clear of the field with a bogey-free five-under 65 on an unusually calm day at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.
He posted a 13-under 197 total, a tournament record low 54-hole score, with Englishman Tyrrell Hatton (66) the closest challenger on nine-under.
Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-tsung was tied for 32nd place on three-under after a 73.
Fowler won the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi Championship in January last year, but has not triumphed on the PGA Tour since 2015, when he clinched his second and third career victories.
He is 0-4 when holding the lead starting the final round on tour, though he has never had such a big cushion.
“I do have a lot of work to do tomorrow, but a four-shot lead is nice,” Fowler told reporters. “[It] can obviously go away very quickly, too, but when you do have that cushion it does give you the opportunity to accept mistakes. If you’re playing from three or four shots behind, you can’t make mistakes. I’ll be out front and in control, and with the way I feel about the game, the way I’ve been swinging, I’m looking forward to it.”
Fowler was not quite firing on all cylinders early on Saturday, but improved as the round progressed.
“I’ve hit a lot of fairways right down the middle and it gives me a lot confidence. Tomorrow just make sure we settle in a little quicker, just trust it and have some fun,” he said.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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