PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The conditions were a little tougher during the third round of the Honda Classic, where one man pulled well clear of the field. Here’s how things look heading into the finale at PGA National, as Rickie Fowler has built a four-shot lead:
Leaderboard: Rickie Fowler (-13), Tyrrell Hatton (-9), Emiliano Grillo (-7), Wesley Bryan (-7), Martin Kaymer (-7), Sean O’Hair (-7), Gary Woodland (-7)
What it means: Fowler held the 36-hole lead at this event last year but faltered in Round 3. He was eager to flip the script this time around, turning a one-shot deficit into a two-shot lead as he made the turn. Fowler added to his margin from there and now sits on the cusp of his first worldwide win in over a year.
Round of the day: Brandon Hagy made the cut on the number and played in the first twosome of the day, but after a sizzling 64 he moved all the way into the top 10. Hagy finished strong, with birdies on four of his final seven holes to equal the low score of the week and move up 47 spots on the leaderboard.
Best of the rest: Fowler was flawless while playing in the penultimate group, one of three players to make it around the Champion Course without dropping a shot. He made three front-nine birdies to take sole possession of the lead, then capped things with an easy two-putt birdie on the last hole.
Biggest disappointment: It was a rough day for the co-leaders. Ryan Palmer now trails Fowler by seven shots after a 73 that featured only one birdie, while Bryan’s roller-coaster 72 included a watery double bogey on No. 15 that dropped him six shots off the pace.
Main storyline heading into Sunday: He’s been in this position before, but this is clearly Fowler’s tournament to lose. A four-shot lead gives him some wiggle room as winds are expected to blow, but this is as good an opportunity as Fowler can ask for to get his first PGA Tour win since 2015 at a de facto home game.
Shot of the day: Fowler was already well in front before he came to the par-5 18th, where he followed a 339-yard bomb off the tee with a 190-yard approach that found the green and settled within 20 feet of the hole to set up an easy birdie.