Xander Schauffele holds one-shot lead at The Olympics

Nichole S. Gehr

KAWAGOE, Japan — Xander Schauffele failed to have a large amount go his way right up until ending on a potent note Saturday, a wonderful shot to 3 feet for birdie that remaining him 18 holes away from an Olympic gold medal.

The podium still felt like a extended way off.

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Five gamers experienced a share of the direct at some issue in the 3rd round. Schauffele, Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama and Carlos Ortiz of Mexico have been continue to tied playing the 18th gap at Kasumigaseki Nation Club.

Schauffele, who spent much of his round in the bunkers and dense tough, managed to conclude the day with a a single-shot direct, in the identical location he started out.

From the fairway — overseas turf for him on this day — he hit a 9-iron that landed softly just belong the cup.

The birdie gave him a 3-less than 68. He is at 14-underneath 199.

Proper there with him was Matsuyama, the Masters winner on whom Japan has pinned its hopes on a gold medal. He was recovering from COVID-19 just less than a month back and explained he in no way would have guessed remaining in this position.

Matsuyama had a 67 and will be in the last group together with Paul Casey, who shot a 66 in his bid to keep the Olympic gold medal in golfing with Britain. He was two shots driving along with Ortiz, who created bogey from the bunker on the 18th gap.

Saturday had all the trappings of a shootout, with eight gamers divided by a mere three shots. Which is not abnormal at golf’s greatest amount, besides only 3 wander away with a medal.

Matsuyama and Schauffele played in the remaining team at the Masters. Matsuyama begun with a four-shot lead and Schauffele, whose mother was lifted in Japan, created a late cost that finished with a tee shot into the water on the par-3 16th.

“I’m positive Xander will come out decided to acquire the gold medal tomorrow,” Matsuyama reported.

Matsuyama completed off the rain-delayed second spherical in the morning with a 64 to get into the final team. He caught up to the direct with a bunker shot to limited selection for birdie on the 17th, and experienced to save par from the tough on the last gap.

Could he have envisioned this when he was recovering at house?

“I certainly would not have considered it,” Matsuyama reported, adding that he would have been most worried with his stamina.

That examined the entire 60-male industry in stifling heat with only an occasional zephyr to circulate some air on the tree-lined course.

Thomas Bach, the Worldwide Olympic Committee president, joined PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan below a tent up coming to the very first tee to look at the ultimate team commence. Even with no spectators, Matsuyama nonetheless captivated some 250 folks, most of them volunteers, all of them hanging on every shot by Matsuyama.

“It does not truly feel like we don’t have fans out here,” Matsuyama explained.

Action arrived from every corner of Kasumigaseki.

Rory McIlroy, indifferent about the Olympics right until he arrived in Tokyo and by now looking ahead to Paris in 2024, created an early move right up until he was slowed by a inadequate pitch that stored him from birdie on the par-5 14th and a 3-putt bogey on the 16th hole. He bounced again with a birdie and completed with a 67.

McIlroy was 3 shots behind, together with Sebastian Munoz of Colombia (66), Mito Pereira of Chile (68) and Sepp Straka of Austria (68).

All were being very a great deal in the blend for gold. Some others were being even now hopeful of any medal, a checklist that all of a sudden includes Sungjae Im. The 23-yr-outdated South Korean desires an Olympic medal to make an exemption from obligatory army service, nevertheless this is not his last prospect.

Im was 12 shots out of the guide and was the 3rd participant this week to match the Olympic report with a 63. He was nevertheless seven behind, although one more massive spherical could retain him in bronze vary.

Schauffele has been seeking to treat this as any other match, and it felt like one particular Saturday.

“Tomorrow might experience a minor distinctive,” he said. “There’s a very little little bit much more on the line than what we generally perform for, and you’re obviously attempting to signify your place to the finest of your capability. So that is why I’ll be on the selection tonight.”

His swing was out of types from the begin, and his father, Stefan, stored a monocular to his ideal eye and could see flaws that were not there throughout his heat-up session, most of the shots to the left. Schauffele shipped vital par putts, and a pair of birdies on the less complicated scoring holes, to maintain the round and the guide from obtaining away from him.

He was in difficulties on the ninth, in the trees off the tees and owning to lay up to the fairway. He escaped with par by earning a 25-foot putt.

“Your putter would not know how bad you might be swinging it,” Schauffele reported. “We’re receiving it completed ideal now. So I would like tomorrow to be a minor bit extra enjoyment all spherical.”

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