LOS ANGELES: Justin Thomas is doing just about everything right at the Sony Open as he fired a bogey-free five-under 65 in the third round on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to extend his lead to seven strokes.
A day after setting the USPGA Tour’s 36-hole scoring record, Justin Thomas continued to roll at the Waialae Country Club course in Honolulu.
Thomas reached 22 under 188 to equal the lowest 54-hole total in PGA history.
“I felt like I managed my day really well to shoot five under,” Thomas said. “I was really happy to be bogey free. That was a big goal of mine.
“I had a couple of saves, I was putting the ball in position off the tee.”
Combine his first bogey-free round of the tournament with a rare 59 on Thursday and a 64 on Friday and it adds up to a seemingly insurmountable seven-shot lead over fellow American Zach Johnson.
No player in history of PGA Tour ever lost a seven-shot lead on the final day.
Johnson shot a third-round 66 to claim second place at 195.
Hudson Swafford and England’s Justin Rose each posted a 66 to tie for third place at 196 with Gary Woodland, had a 68.
Kevin Kisner completed the second-best round of the tournament, a 60, to jump from 13th to a tie for sixth at 197. Kisner is tied with Jamie Lovemark (65) and Scotland’s Russell Knox (66).
“When guys get on those steaks and you have talent like that and confidence, it is impressive,” Johnson said of Thomas.
Thomas is off to one of the most impressive starts in PGA Tour history. A victory on Sunday would give him three wins in his last four starts and make him the first golfer since Ernie Els in 2003 to win the Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open back-to-back.
On Saturday, Thomas started with eight consecutive pars in the third round, made two birdies in a row around the turn, then closed with three birdies on the final three holes.
Kisner’s bogey-free round features five birdies on the back nine, which he played first, then five more on the front nine.
Kisner’s final putt from nine feet rolled just past the hole on the left side.
Jordan Spieth is at 198 after a 66, but despite being alone in ninth he is 10 shots adrift of Thomas.
Ollie Schniederjans, Brian Harman, Russell Henley, Tony Finau, Charles Howell and Japan’s Hideto Tanihara share 10th place at 199.