Saturday's golf: Hideki Matsuyama takes one-shot lead into final round in Japan

Associated Press

Chiba, Japan — Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama held on to a one-stroke lead at the PGA Tour’s Zozo Championship on Saturday after a 2-under 68 which included a bogey on his last hole to make things interesting heading into the final round.

Matsuyama trailed by a stroke after the first round, led by one after the second and had a 54-hole total of 10-under 200 on the par-70, 7,041-yard Narashino Country Club course.

Hideki Matsuyama hits a shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the Zozo Championship on Saturday.

Cameron Tringale, who also shot 68, trailed by three strokes going to the final hole Saturday but his birdie and Matsuyama’s bogey reduced the lead to just one.

Sebastian Munoz (68), Brendan Steele (70) and Matt Wallace (70), were tied for third, four strokes behind Matsuyama.

British Open champion Collin Morikawa, who shot 67 with a chip-in eagle on 18 and was six strokes behind, said he added a new shot to his repertoire on the par-5 sixth hole. But it’s not one that he wants to repeat.

“I did something in my career that I haven’t done yet, was shank a shot,” Morikawa said. “Yeah, shanked a pitching wedge straight in the trees.”

“It was kind of a grind. I really had no clue where the ball was going to go, I was kind of just trying to make contact and thankfully the putter was working today. Obviously really nice to finish on a couple lucky breaks with the tee shot left ending up in the fairway, hitting a bad second shot and then chipping in obviously to end the day.”

Morikawa said it could be an interesting final round.

“We never know. Obviously I’m going to have to go make birdies tomorrow, Hideki’s obviously not going to make a bunch of bogeys, but we’ll see where the day ends,” Morikawa said. “We always feel like we’re always within striking distance and just got to get off to a good start.”

Tokyo Olympic gold medal winner Xander Schauffele shot 68 and was at 2 over, 12 strokes behind, as was Rickie Fowler after a 71 Saturday.

The PGA Tour’s only stop on the Asia swing has attracted only three of the top 20 in the world rankings.

LPGA

Hee Jeong Lim took a four-stroke lead into the final round of the BMW Ladies Championship in Busan, South Korea, after a 7-under 65.

Lim had a 54-hole total of 18-under 198 on the LPGA International Busan course.

Fellow South Korean players Jin Young Ko (67) and Na Rin An (69) were tied for second. American Danielle Kang shot 69 and was five strokes behind Lim and tied for third.

Lim has not had a bogey through the first three rounds. She had seven birdies Saturday, including one on No. 11, after missing her first fairway of the week.

The LPGA started out with a four-tournament Asia swing until events in Shanghai, Japan, and Taiwan were either canceled or removed from the schedule due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. That left Busan as a one-off event on the schedule, and many of the top North American players decided not to play.

Champions

Steve Flesch birdied the par-4 18th hole for a 5-under 67 and a two-stroke lead over Bernhard Langer and Steven Alker in the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, the first of three PGA Tour Champions playoff events.

Flesch reached 13-under 131 with his second straight bogey-free round on The Country Club of Virginia’s James River Course in Richmond, Virginia. He has played the back nine in 9 under.

Langer, the 64-year-old German star who leads the Charles Schwab Cup points standings, also had a 67. Alker, the 50-year-old New Zealander who had a one-stroke lead over Flesch after an opening 63, dropped back with a 70.

Tim Petrovic (67) and Doug Barron (68) were 10 under, and Jeff Sluman (68) and Gene Sauers (68) followed at 8 under. Jim Furyk was 7 under after a 68.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson closed with quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 ninth for a 74. He was tied for 49th at 1 over.

Europe

Jeff Winther reclaimed the lead at the Mallorca Open with an 8-under 62 in Santa Ponsa, Spain.

Winther is two shots clear of Jorge Campillo, who had a third-round 64.

Winther, seeking his first European Tour win, repeated the 62 from his first round after shooting 1-over par on Friday. He was bogey-free and had eight birdies, including the last three holes.

Álvaro Quirós (65) and Sebastian Soderberg (64) are three shots off the lead entering the final round. Second-round leader Bryce Easton shot even-par and is five shots behind Winther.