The CJ Cup: Rickie Fowler Leads Rory McIlroy By 2 Shots After 54 Holes

Rickie Fowler CJ Cup
Rickie Fowler plays a shot on the 14th hole during the third round of THE CJ CUP at The Summit Club on Oct 16, 2021 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Alex Goodlett via Getty Images for CJ Cup)

Rickie Fowler shot a bogey-free 63 and will enter Sunday’s finale of the CJ Cup with a two-shot lead over Rory McIlroy.

The 32-year-old fan favorite finished his third day at The Summit Club with nine birdies including two key gains on 16 and 18 to break away from McIlroy.

“Yeah, I mean, it could be,” said Fowler, when asked if he’s on the verge of busting out of a ferocious two-year slump. “I’ve done everything I really wanted to do the first three days. It’s nice to be executing the way we are.

“I say “we,” it’s a two-man show out there, Joe and myself, and ultimately I’m the one pulling the trigger.

“No, it’s just been a long time coming. I haven’t been in this position a whole lot in the last couple years, so to feel the emotions again on the back nine being around and then in the lead, you know, kind of dealing with that again and kind of making sure that I was going through the right process and committing to what I was ultimately trying to do, it was great to see that I was still executing and hitting the shots that I wanted to.

“So, no, just a solid round of golf today. Started with two solid rounds the first two days, so yeah, three days are done. I can’t do anything about that. So 18 holes of golf tomorrow and a whole new day.”

Rory McIlroy CJ Cup
Rory McIlroy putts on the 13th green during the third round of THE CJ CUP at The Summit Club on Oct 16, 2021 in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Christian Petersen via Getty Images)

McIlroy, meanwhile, produced the day’s low round – a 10-under 62 – to secure the second spot on 19 under.

“Yeah, it was good,” said McIlroy. “I mean, I ended — I made a nice par save on 2 to stay even par. Then I sort of got it going from there, made five in a row on the front nine there.

“Then ended up with birdie on nine, so went out in 30. Sort of felt like I played the back nine a little similar to yesterday. There was a lot of pars, a few chances. I birdied — I guess I birdied the holes that I should birdie on the back nine, the par 5, the drivable par 4 and the eagle on the last was a little bit of a bonus.

“After the front nine, I did what I needed to do on the back nine. I probably felt like I left a couple out there, but I’m not going to complain.”

Abraham Ancer, who will join Fowler and McIlroy in Sunday’s final grouping, carded a 63 to reach 18 under, good for T3 alongside Robert Streb (65) and Adam Scott (67).

Overnight leader Keith Mitchell entered Saturday’s round holding a commanding five shot lead but back-to-back double bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9 punctuated a sloppy round of 73. He tumbled to T6 on 17 under alongside Tyrrell Hatton (67).

2021 CJ CUP

Leaderboard: Top 10

Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 3)
1. Rickie Fowler -21 (-9)
2. Rory McIlroy -19 (-10)
3. Abraham Ancer -18 (-9)
3. Robert Streb -18 (-7)
3. Adam Scott -18 (-5)
6. Tyrrell Hatton -17 (-5)
6. Keith Mitchell -17 (+1)
8. Cameron Smith -16 (-5)
8. Ian Poulter -16 (-5)
10. Sam Burns -15 (-6)
10. Erik van Rooyen -15 (-4)
10. Aaron Wise -15 (-4)
10. Harry Higgs -15 (-2)


14. Collin Morikawa -14 (-7)
17. Gary Woodland -13 (-6)
17. Viktor Hovland -13 (-2)
17. Paul Casey -13 (-2)
17. Jordan Spieth -13 (E)
30. Tommy Fleetwood -12 (-8)
30. Webb Simpson -12 (-6)
30. Sungjae Im -12 (-5)
30. Sergio Garcia -12 (-3)
36. Brooks Koepka -11 (-4)
42. Justin Thomas -10 (-2)
42. Louis Oosthuizen -10 (-7)
46. Dustin Johnson -9 (-5)
46. Xander Schauffele -9 (-3)
46. Max Homa -9 (-2)
51. Jason Kokrak -8 (-7)
51. Scottie Scheffler -8 (-1)
56. Harris English -7 (-4)
56. Justin Rose -7 (-3)
56. Tony Finau -7 (-2)
64. Patrick Reed -6 (+1)
64. Hideki Matsuyama -6 (+2)
72. Shane Lowry -4 (-3)
76. Jason Day -1 (E)


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