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Schauffele and Morikawa tie for PGA Championship with plenty of company – Orange County Register

By DOUG FERGUSON (AP Golf Writer)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The cheers were endless Saturday in the PGA Championship, and when another record-setting day of goals finally came to an end at vulnerable Valhalla, so were the possibilities.

Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa were tied for the lead. Shane Lowry fought his way into the mix with a 62 to tie a major championship record set two days earlier. Bryson DeChambeau chipped in for eagle on the final hole to spark a wild celebration.

And all Scottie Scheffler could do during all this chaos – at least it was on the ropes this time – was listen to them.

Scheffler’s remarkable streak of 42 consecutive rounds at par or better ultimately resulted in the second-lowest Saturday average at the PGA Championship. He faded early, never really recovered and shot 73 to finish eight shots back with 23 players ahead of him.

“Too many mistakes,” Scheffler told CBS. He refused to speak to journalists. “I came here hoping to get a good ride and I didn’t.”

Schauffele, who opened the week with a 62 that looked easy, worked to stay ahead and had a two-shot lead until a 9-iron came out hot and across the green at the 15th. With water on the other side of the green, he paid attention to a shin-high sliver of grass and moved it 10 feet. He did and two-putted for double bogey, only his second hole over par this week.

Schauffele bounced back with two closing birdies for a 3-under 68.

Morikawa briefly took the lead with a 6-foot birdie putt that traveled 360 degrees around the cup before dropping on the 15th, and he made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 67 to tie Schauffele. They were at 15 under 198 with lots of company.

Sahith Theegala birdied six of his last 10 holes for a 68 and was one shot behind. Another shot was the trio of Lowry, DeChambeau (67) and Viktor Hovland (66) – British Open champion, US Open champion and FedEx Cup champion.

And it didn’t stop there. Fifteen players were separated by five shots.

“There are a ton of guys who can do it tomorrow,” Morikawa said.

The most shocking thing was that Scheffler was not among them.

Scheffler was coming off the most thrilling day of his career, marked by an arrest for failing to comply with police orders, a brief prison sentence and a 66 to challenge for a second straight major. But he was never a factor after an early double bogey-bogey-bogey sequence.

“I really didn’t feel good today,” he said. “It happened yesterday, I did my best to get over it and compete. This morning was not my usual routine for a tour. At the end of the day I was hoping to get a good lap, but I didn’t get there, which was frustrating.

Even at the home of the Kentucky Derby, this final round could be difficult to handicap.

Lowry’s magnificent performance – he made 161 feet of putts – ended with a wedge from just inside 12 feet and a clear shot to 61, only to give the putt enough pace.

“Probably the most disappointed person who could ever shoot 62,” Lowry said. “Look, I went in there with a job to do today, and my job was to try to get myself back into the tournament. And I definitely did.

DeChambeau made only three birdies and didn’t get much out of his round until he chipped in for his eagle, a moment so strong it was hard to tell whether he or the thousands of fans were more excited. He said he hasn’t felt that kind of energy since he was 58 to win the LIV Golf Greenbrier last year.

“Exhilarating,” he said. “It was pretty exciting there. I was pretty excited. I have good luck. I’m not performing at the level that I know I can, but I’m playing well enough to give myself a chance, obviously.

Justin Rose (64) was three shots away. The group five behind at 10-under 203 included Justin Thomas, the Louisville native who felt chills on a scorching day of sun when he pulled weeds, up the green and into the cup on the 14th par 3 for a maximum of an improbable birdie. He shot 67.

That’s 15 players under 10 or better, the most players over 54 holes in major championship history. The previous record was seven players, most recently at St. Andrews in 2022.

The third-round scoring average was 69.55, a fraction of the PGA Championship record set at Bellerive in 2018.

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