Emiliano Grillo leads by one in Mexico as Viktor Hovland and Justin Thomas shine
Argentine Emiliano Grillo stays top of the Mayakoba Classic leaderboard, but he'll be looking over his shoulder at world No 3 Justin Thomas and Ryder Cup hopeful Viktor Hovland, who were a combined 17 under on day three
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 06/12/20 12:19am
Emiliano Grillo held on to his Mayakoba Golf Classic lead as Justin Thomas and Viktor Hovland made big moves on day three in Mexico.
Grillo's three-under 68 ensured he would retain the lead heading into the final round, which he ended one shot clear of Tom Hoge after the American birdied five of the last six holes.
Thomas had earlier charged into the reckoning with a bogey-free 62, featuring nine birdies and lifting him to 12 under and two adrift of Hovland, who also carded nine birdies in a 63 that began with a bogey.
But Grillo remains the man to beat after he showed admirable fortitude over the final third of his round having endured a difficult spell after the turn, with bogeys at 10 and 12 opening the door for the chasing pack.
The Argentine dug deep and halted the slide with a welcome birdie at the long 13th, and he converted a nice tee shot to 10 feet at the 15th before parring in to stay at 16 under.
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"I started in the lead, finished in the lead, that's kind of the idea. Hopefully one more of those," said Grillo, whose lone PGA Tour victory remains the Fry's.com Open over five years ago - his first event as a full Tour member.
"I don't think I've had the 54-hole lead before, so it's sort of an easy situation. But again it's the same, just trying to do the same over and over. All I can do is just try to shoot under par tomorrow and see if it's enough."
Hoge was just one under for the day with six to play and looked to be leaving himself with too much ground to make up on the leader, but he revived his challenge with four straight birdies from the 13th and added another at the last to return a 65.
Hovland, widely tipped for a Ryder Cup debut for Europe next year, atoned for his poor start with an immediate bounce-back birdie at the second, and he made four more before the turn before picking up four shots in five holes on the inward run to get within two of the leader.
"That was fun," said the young Norwegian. "I've been hitting it really solid all week and felt it wasn't the best start with the bogey on one, but I knew there's a bunch of birdies out there to make. Made a nice birdie on the very next hole and then I hit some really close shots that I didn't take advantage of.
"And I've missed a lot of short putts so far this week actually. I've made some long ones, but missed a lot of short putts. After I missed those, I got a little frustrated, but I quickly made some birdies right after that and that kind of got my mindset better."
World No 3 Thomas stormed to 12 under with five birdies over his last seven holes, while first-round leader Russell Knox also kept a bogey off his card but made only three birdies in a 68 that left him five shots off the pace.
Tony Finau is also at 11 under, although his position could have been far higher had he built on a superb front-nine which included the shot of the day - a hole-in-one at the short fourth.
He birdied three of the next four holes to race to 14 under, but he lost his way after the turn and bogeyed the 11th, 12th and final holes to hand in a disappointing 69.