Lowry, Rose & MacIntyre move into US PGA contention

Shane Lowry celebrates
Shane Lowry's best finish at the US PGA Championship is a tie for fourth [Getty Images]

US PGA Championship leaderboard, round three

-15 Schauffele (US), Morikawa (US); -14 Theegala (US); -13 Lowry (Ire), DeChambeau (US), Hovland (Nor); -12 Rose (Eng), MacIntyre (Sco)

Selected others: -10 Thomas (US); -8 McIlroy (NI), Spieth (US); -7 Rai (Eng), Wallace (Eng), Scheffler (US); -4 Koepka

Full leaderboard

Shane Lowry shot a major record-equalling 62 as he moved into contention behind joint leaders Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele during an intriguing third round at the US PGA Championship in Kentucky.

The 2019 Open champion holed nine birdies in a sublime bogey-free round to reach 13 under, two off the lead.

Lowry was buoyed by playing with Ryder Cup team-mate Justin Rose, who signed for a superb 64 to sit one further back on 12 under.

Scotland's Robert MacIntyre shot a terrific 66 to join England’s Rose as the field closed up behind the leaders.

But on a enthralling day of low scoring Morikawa (67) and Schauffele (68) finished top of the pile, one ahead of fellow American Sahith Theegala, who carded a 67 to improve to 14 under.

Former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau (67) and Norway's rising star Viktor Hovland (66) are level with Lowry on a stacked leaderboard.

Irishman Lowry is the fourth player to record a 62 in major championship and the second this week, after Schauffele achieved the same feat for a second time in the opening round.

“I enjoyed every minute of it," said Lowry, who added that he was "probably the most disappointed anyone can ever be shooting 62" after missing a 12-foot putt on the last to be the first to hit a 61 in a major.

"I knew what was at stake. I went out there with a job to do, and my job was to try to get myself back in the tournament, and I definitely did that," he said.

Rory McIlroy, who came into the event on the back of two successive wins on the PGA Tour, rattled in four consecutive birdies from the seventh to mount a genuine challenge.

But the Northern Irishman was unable to maintain his mid-round charge and finished at eight under overall.

Defending champion Brooks Koepka saw his challenge fade with a three-over 74 as he dropped 11 shots off the lead while world number one Scottie Scheffler made five bogeys and a double bogey as he toiled to a 73 which leaves him at seven under.

European challenge moves up a gear

A brilliant chip-in eagle at the 18th means that DeChambeau spearheads the LIV Golf challenge heading into Sunday.

However, there is also a now significant European challenge at a tournament that has seen the Wanamaker Trophy hoisted aloft by a home player in each of the previous eight editions.

Left-handed MacIntyre continues to impress as he looks to become Scotland’s first major winner since Paul Lawrie, 25 years ago.

The 27-year-old has admitted to struggling to adjust to life in the US after joining the PGA Tour at the start of this year but had three weeks back in Oban before the championship and has him mum out for support in Kentucky.

"I'm going to get nervous but all I can do is try my best and see where we end up," said MacIntyre.

"Until about probably the 68th hole I'm going to try and just play golf, and then at the 68th hole I have to maybe think about what I'm doing."

Three birdies in the final four holes also turbo-charged Hovland's round as he attempts to go one better than 12 months ago when he ended up as one of two runners-up to Koepka.

Belgian Thomas Detry also finds himself in a tie for 10th after a topsy-turvy 70 which included an eagle on the fourth.

While pre-round expectations largely centred on whether McIlroy could put a run together at a course where he won his fourth and last major in 2014, the man who partnered him to victory at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans earlier this month, was at the heart of most compelling storyline on Saturday.

Lowry was joint 29th entering the third round, eight shots off the lead. He shared 10 birdies with Rose across the first seven holes as the pair laughed and joked their way around Valhalla

"It was pretty cool out there, the two of us. It was nice to kind of bounce off each other and feed off each other the whole day," said Lowry.

Rose, the 2013 US Open champion, added: "There was a nice energy about the group.

"You feed off the crowd, too. They could see me going well. They could see Shane going well. There were a lot of things pushing us all forward in the right direction, and once you got a sniff of the leaderboard, the intensity kind of goes up, as well.

"It keeps you focused and keeps you hungry and keeps pushing you forward."

Scheffler struggles as Schauffele and Morikawa battle for lead

A day on from an adrenaline-fuelled 66 in the second round, which came just hours after being arrested, Scheffler was unable to deliver the same level of performance on Saturday.

A double bogey at the second was followed by a bogey on the third, while a wayward out-of-bounds drive on the par-four fourth cost him another shot as his round began to unravel.

It was the first time that the normally unflappable American had produced three consecutive bogeys or worse in a round for 646 days and some 2,470 holes of golf on the PGA Tour.

And without his usual caddie Ted Scott, who was attending his daughter’s high-school graduation, Scheffler added two more bogeys to his card on the back nine.

A birdie on the 18th drew a smile but it would take a remarkable turn of events for the reigning Masters champion to make up eight shots and 23 places, to become only the third player since Jack Nicklaus in 1972, to win the year’s first two majors.

Instead American hopes appear pinned on any one of Schauffele, Morikawa, Theegala and DeChambeau.

Schauffele has led on his own for much of the championship after opening with a 62 and adding a 68 on Saturday to reach halfway at 12 under par.

However, he has struggled to convert leads into victories and was picked off by McIlroy in last week's Wells Fargo Championship.

Schauffele, whose last win came at the Scottish Open in 2022, went two clear of the field on the 14th with a 30-foot birdie putt.

But he wobbled on the next, failing to escape from deep greenside rough at the first attempt as he carded a double bogey.

Morikawa took advantage, rolling in a short birdie putt for a three-shot swing that saw the two-time major winner take the lead.

However, reigning Olympic champion Schauffele closed with two successive birdies to ensure he finished level with his compatriot as he looks to win his first major title.

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