Schauffele, Morikawa holding off pack at PGA; Lowry fires 62

Shane Lowry comes within one putt of breaking the major scoring record, but settles for a leaderboard-climbing 62. (0:23)

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For the third day in a row at the PGA Championship, Xander Schauffele is at the top of the leaderboard.

This time, however, he has company.

After a birdie on the par-5 18th hole Saturday, Collin Morikawa’s 4-under 67 erased Schauffele’s 1-shot lead after 36 holes. Heading into the final round at Valhalla Golf Club on Sunday, Schauffele and Morikawa are tied at 15 under, 1 stroke ahead of Sahith Theegala, who also birdied 18 to get to 14 under and solo third place.

In all, 13 golfers are within 5 shots of the lead.

After carding just one bogey all week, Schauffele made his biggest mistake of the tournament on the 15th hole. His approach from the fairway landed long left and in some of the deepest rough on the golf course. His first chip barely made it out and his second left him a long putt for bogey, which he missed.

“It was easy going there the first round. Everything felt super easy,” Schauffele said of his major championship record-tying 62 on Thursday. “Felt like I’ve had to work for a lot of my birdies the last two days. Haven’t been able to make many putts. I feel like I’m still hitting the ball — I’ve got to look at the stats — but feel like I’m hitting the ball pretty nice. If I can just get the putter going a little bit, it should free me up.”

For the second major in a row, Morikawa will find himself in the final pairing; he was overwhelmed by Scottie Scheffler at the Masters and finished tied for third.

“I’ve played against all these guys. It’s not like any of these guys are new,” Morikawa said of his final-round approach. “They all have their accolades within themselves, and really anyone can go low.”

Shane Lowry showed as much Saturday.

The Irishman was just 11 feet, 10 inches away from history in the third round. He had a birdie putt on the 18th green to shoot the first 61 in a major championship. But as the putt slid by on the left side, Lowry could only wince and look up at the sky in bittersweet disappointment.

A share of history would have to do.

“I enjoyed it. I enjoyed every minute of it, obviously,” Lowry said. “Probably the most disappointed anyone can ever be shooting 62. I knew what was at stake. Just didn’t hit the ball hard enough. Had it on a good read and just broke away from the hole.”

Just two days after Schauffele tied his own record for lowest round at a major with a 9-under 62 — a feat that had been accomplished only once before last year — Lowry was able to join the exclusive group by shooting his own 9 under — the fifth 62 in major championship history.

The 2019 Open Championship winner at Royal Portrush started his third round at 4 under, 8 shots back of Schauffele. He made quick work of Valhalla’s front nine, carding six birdies, including four in a row from the second hole through the sixth, for a front-nine 29.

Lowry slowed down with pars on his next three holes after making the turn, but he made back-to-back birdies on the short par-4 13th hole with a 37-foot putt and the long par-3 14th thanks to a 32-foot putt. By the end of his historic round, Lowry had made 160 feet of putts.

He added another birdie on the 17th hole, giving him the chance to shoot 61 by making birdie on the par-5 18th.

Record aside, Lowry is now firmly in contention to win his second major heading into Sunday’s final round, but at 13 under, he’s not alone, either.

Movin’ On Up Shane Lowry was T-29 at the end of the second round. Over the last 25 PGA Championships, only 3 players moved inside the top 5 through 54 holes after being outside the top 25 through 36 holes:

• W.C. Liang, 2010 (Whistling),went from T-40 to T-4; finished T-8

• Padraig Harrington, 2008 (Oakland Hills), went from T-26 to T-4; Won

• Thomas Bjorn, 2005 (Baltusrol), went from T-36 to third; finished T-2

With a stunning chip-in for eagle on the 18th hole that produced the loudest roar at Valhalla on Saturday, Bryson DeChambeau closed out a 4-under round with an exclamation point that puts him 2 shots back of the leaders.

“Exhilarating. I haven’t felt like that in a long time,” DeChambeau said. “The only other time I felt like it was when I shot 58 at Greenbrier. That was pretty exciting there. I was pretty pumped.”

After a T-6 at the Masters, the 2021 U.S. Open winner is searching for his second major and his first since joining LIV Golf.

“I’ve got a good chance,” DeChambeau said. “I’m not executing to the level that I know I can, but playing well enough to give myself a chance, obviously.”

DeChambeau’s playing partner Saturday, Viktor Hovland, shot his second straight 66, taking him from 4 shots back at the start of the day to only 2 shots behind entering Sunday. Hovland has struggled this year, but after reuniting with former swing coach Joe Mayo recently, the 26-year-old appears to have turned a corner.

Another round of 66 on Sunday could net Hovland, who won the 2023 Tour Championship, his first major victory.

“I’m surprised in the sense that, just how far away I felt last week [when he tied for 24th at the Wells Fargo],” Hovland said. “But I’m not surprised in the way that I’m here because, like, I never doubted my abilities. It was just kind of my machinery was not working very well. But as soon as I get the machine kind of somewhere on track, I can play. But this has exceeded all expectations. That’s for sure.”

After a 7 under on Saturday that was the second-best round of the day behind Lowry, Justin Rose finished at 12 under to put himself within striking distance. The 2013 U.S. Open winner is joined by Ryder Cup teammate Robert MacIntyre, who carded his second 66 of the week to remain in contention.

This year, Valhalla has proved to be one of the easiest courses in major championship history. Not only has the course surrendered two scores of 62 already, but after two rounds, there were 78 players under the par — the most in major history.

Heading into Sunday, 15 players are double digits under par, more than doubling the previous high at a major.

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