Seven things to know after the third round of the 2019 WGC-Mexico Championship, where Dustin Johnson leads Rory McIlroy by four strokes at Club De Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City.
1. DJ Leads: The 34-year old South Carolinian signed for a 5-under 66 card, which included an eagle-2, five birdies, and a double-bogey to reach 16 under. It was DJ’s 10th consecutive round in the 60s at Club de Golf Chapultepec.
2. What It Could Mean For DJ: It would be DJ’s 20th career PGA Tour title, which would make him the 38th golfer in history with at least 20 victories. It would also be DJ’s third WGC-Mexico/Cadillac title, becoming only the second player (Tiger Woods) to win three times at the same WGC event. A win would also vault DJ back to No. 1 in the world rankings.
3. Rory in Position: The 29-year old Northern Irishman shot a 68 on Saturday, but lost two strokes to DJ and will enter the final round four back at 12 under. Seven of McIlroy’s 13 PGA Tour stroke-play titles have been won by overcoming 54-hole deficits, including his most recent – the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
4. Reed Moves Up: The reigning Masters champ will play in the final pairing after a low-round 64 which included two eagles. He sits T3 on 9 under, and will be seeking PGA Tour title No. 7 – and his first since claiming victory at Augusta last spring.
5. Tiger Struggles: The Big Cat birdied his first two holes of the day but played his final 16 holes at 1-over par en route to a 71, settling in at T9 on 6 under.
6. JT Heads South: Justin Thomas opened with a 66 on Thursday, but has followed it up with rounds of 73 and 74 to tumble 34 spots down the leaderboard to T37 on even-par 213.
7. Calling Jordan Spieth: The 25-year old Texan’s slump (can it still be called a slump?) continues another week. The former world No. 1 has sandwiched a pair of 75s between a 69 and sits T59 on 6-over par. Spieth’s best two finishes of 2018-19 include a T35 and T45. He has work to do to post a better position.
ROUND-3: TOP LEADERS
Pos-Player-Under Par (Today)
1. Dustin Johnson -16 (-5)
2. Rory McIlroy -12 (-3)
3. Patrick Reed -9 (-7)
3. Patrick Cantlay -9 (-6)
3. Cameron Smith -6 (-3)
3. Sergio Garcia -9 (-2)
7. Ian Poulter -8 (-2)
7. Kiradech Aphibarnrat -8 (-3)
9. David Lipsky -6 (-3)
9. Louis Oosthuizen -6 (-2)
9. Tiger Woods -6 (-1)
9. Tommy Fleetwood -6 (+1)
ROUND-3 VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
Credit: PGA TOUR
ROUND-3 STAT LEADERS
Driving: Bubba Watson – 354.5 yards (T23)
Fairways: Matthew Fitzpatrick – 32/42, 76.2% (T23)
Greens: Dustin Johnson – 44/54, 83.3% (1)
Putts/GIR: Ian Poulter – 1.622 (T7)
Birdies: Rory McIlroy – 18 (2)
Pars: Matthew Fitzpatrick – 41 (T23)
Bogeys: Shaun Norris – 174 (72)
“Yeah, got off to a nice start with a 2 on No. 2, and then I felt like I hit a lot of great shots on the rest of the front nine, hit some good putts that didn’t go in. Then 10, it was a little bit of bad luck, a little bit of maybe wrong club from over there. But I just misjudged that a little bit, I didn’t think it was going to come out like it did. Hit the tree in front of me and then it went to a weird position, and then back into a weird position.”
– Dustin Johnson (-16, 1st)
“Yeah, to attack, for sure. Obviously, four shots behind DJ, it’s going to be a tall order to overcome. I was happy with how I played the last 10 holes, being one over through the first eight and then playing the last 10 in four under was nice, I gave myself plenty of chances. It was just end of the day, there was a lot of traffic on these greens. It’s hard to hole putts, and putts are sort of doing some different things. But yeah, I need to get off to a better start tomorrow than I did today. If I can do that, hopefully I will be right back in it.”
– Rory McIlroy (-12, 2nd)
“I think the big change is just getting more comfortable. You know, even if you know the numbers, it’s hard to trust hitting a gap wedge 170 yards, a pitching wedge 180 yards. So I think my coach and I have done a lot of good work last week and I feel like the swing’s where it needs to be and now I’m able to match the swing up with the distance it’s actually going.”
– Patrick Reed (-9, T3)