Justin Thomas charges with course record in WGC-Mexico Championship
Tyrell Hatton and Phil Mickelson also impress in third round
Last Updated: 03/03/18 11:24pm
Justin Thomas charged into contention at the WGC-Mexico Championship with a course-record 62 in the third round at Chapultepec Golf Club.
The 24-year-old American won last week's Honda Classic in Florida and he admitted tiredness had been a factor as he carded 72 and 70 in the opening two rounds in Mexico City to sit on level par at the halfway stage.
But he clicked into gear with an eagle two on the first hole in his third round, driving to eight feet on the 316-yard par-four and sinking the short putt.
Some pinpoint iron play earned Thomas birdies at the fourth, sixth and seventh and back-to-back birdies followed at the 11th and 12th before he slipped up with his only bogey at the 13th.
Thomas' progress up the leaderboard was not finished, though, and he was back on track with a birdie at the 15th.
A superb approach shot to within a foot at the 16th secured another birdie and he capped his round off by holing a 46-foot for birdie at the 18th to go to nine under for both his round and the tournament.
Despite his excellent performance, Thomas admitted afterwards that he had not decided on a strategy at the start of the day and he still thinks he may be too far behind going into the final round - he is four behind leader Shubhankar Sharma.
"I wasn't playing well enough to have a strategy," he said. "I'm just trying to hit the fairways, trying to hit the greens. I wasn't really putting very well so I finally saw some positives today that I can move forward on.
"I'm not expecting to have a very good chance to win the tournament but if I do it will be a huge bonus. I'm just happy I moved up the leaderboard quite a bit."
Englishman Tyrrell Hatton was another player to make the most of 'moving day' with a flawless 64 featuring seven birdies, five of which came on the front nine.
He also chipped in from 21 foot and off the green on the 12th and went close to holing a tricky chip over a bunker for another birdie on the 15th.
"I got off to a good start, felt comfortable with my game and gave myself plenty of opportunities," said the 26-year-old, who was hampered by a bout of food poisoning earlier in the week.
"I was five under through nine which I was over the moon with. I felt like I lost my swing a little bit on the back nine and didn't hit it as good.
"But overall if you had said I was going to shoot seven under at the start of the day, I would have been buzzing. I'm very happy with that."
Looking ahead to Sunday's final round, he added: "I'm just going to go out there trying, play as well as I can and shoot another low one and see what happens."
Hatton is alongside Phil Mickelson on 11 under and the American was delighted to be bogey-free in his six-under 65.
"It's great," he said. "You always feel good after a round where you don't make a mistake. You have kind of managed your way around the golf course, you've put the ball in the right spots, you've attacked the right pins, you've played smart and that's something I've been trying to do here."
The left-hander has been in excellent form in recent weeks with three successive top-six finishes, but he insists there is more to come.
"It's been a long time since my game has been back to this point and I'm back playing some of my best golf again and it will start to click and get better and better as the year goes on," he added.
"There is a very good chance it will [happen tomorrow'], but if it doesn't it's going to happen soon because I am playing too well for it not to."