PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP)Russell Henley rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on his first hole and never really let up Saturday until he had a 6-under 65 and doubled the size of his lead to six shots in the World Wide Technology at Mayakoba.
This is the sixth time Henley has had at least a share of the 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, and while he has converted only one of them into a victory – his rookie start in 2013 in Hawaii – he has never had a lead like this.
Will Gordon bogeyed the 18th hole for a 68 to fall even farther back, tied with Patton Kizzire, who had a 67.
Henley was at 22-under 191, breaking his career low for the opening 54 holes on the PGA Tour by one shot. He had a 192 in the Sony Open in January, ultimately losing in a playoff to Hideki Matsuyama.
Equally impressive by Henley was going bogey-free, the only player in the field who has yet to drop a shot at El Camaleon.
Henley sure had his chances. He put his tee shot into the hazard on the 428-yard second hole, took a penalty drop and then hit his approach to 4 feet to save par.
Henley will be going for his fourth career victory, and first since the 2017 Houston Open.
This round had plenty of stress compared with the opening two days, though that made it feel more satisfying because of the key putts he made that saved par and kept momentum in his favor.
He started with a three-shot lead and no one made up any ground.
Sam Ryder was three behind. He was six back after making a double bogey on his first hole, while Henley made his long birdie. Gordon had three straight birdies early on the back nine to try to stay in the game.
”The score was good, but it just felt harder,” Henley said. ”It was my favorite of the three days because it wasn’t easy.”
Seamus Power of Ireland, coming off a win in Bermuda, had a 63 and was seven shots behind. His round featured a hole-in-one on the eighth hole, and he didn’t even get the stage to himself.
Greyson Sigg moments later made an ace on the par-3 10th hole, and Sigg didn’t even realize it. He hit 7-iron, hit it well, knew it was a good shot but needed to get to the bathroom, and so he rushed off to the clubhouse near the tee.
”We couldn’t see it go in, no one really made any reaction,” Sigg said. ”So I threw my club to my caddie and I took off and I came in the locker room, went to the bathroom, and as I was walking out, one of the locker room attendants was like, `Great shot. Hole-in-one.’ And I was like, `No way.”’
It was his first hole-in-one on the PGA Tour and he didn’t even get it out of the cup.
Two-time defending champion Viktor Hovland had a 66 and lost ground. He now is nine shots behind. Masters champion Scottie Scheffler had a 68 and was in the middle of the pack, 13 shots behind and without much chance of regaining the No. 1 ranking.
Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa had a 68 and then sounded offended in his Golf Channel interview when told that TV analyst Trevor Immelman suggested his off year might feel that way because of a high bar from early success out of college.
”Wow, that’s hard to hear from him. To be honest, I could care less what he says there because I don’t think that’s my bar,” Morikawa said.
When told it was meant as a compliment from having won so much so often, Morikawa wasn’t buying.
”I don’t know if that was a compliment, I’ll be honest. If he did, maybe it came off wrong from what I heard,” he said. ”For me, I’ve never seen a ceiling. I just want to keep improving. Obviously we took a couple of steps back this year but it’s just trying to get better every day and improve on little things.”
AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports