Hideki Matsuyama finished the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions exactly where he started, on top of the leaderboard. Here’s how Moving Day played out at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China:
Leaderboard: Matsuyama (-17), Russell Knox (-14), Daniel Berger (-13), Francesco Molinari (-12), Bill Haas (-12), Rickie Fowler (-10), Ross Fischer (-10)
What it means: Matsuyama continues to set a torrid pace at the WGC-HSBC Champions, and he showed no signs of slowing down on Saturday. The two-time PGA Tour winner turned in a flawless 4-under 68 with no bogeys in Round 3, and he’s now made 23 birdies this week. Fresh off a runner-up finish at the CIMB Classic, the 24-year-old from Japan is just 18 holes away from becoming the first Asian-born player to win a WGC title.
Round of the day: You have to look a little bit farther down the leaderboard, but what Adam Scott did on Saturday was nothing short of remarkable. After a second-round 80, Scott rebounded with a 8-under 64 in Round 3. Scott, whose last win came at the 2016 WGC-Cadillac Championship in March, had eight birdies and no bogeys on the day, and now sits at 3 under for the tournament.
Best of the rest: There were plenty of low scores out there on Saturday at Sheshan International Golf Club. The lowest - besides Scott – belonged to Shane Lowry, who carded a 7-under 65 to get inside the top 10. Even closer to the top of the leaderboard, we saw a 68 from Knox, 67 from Berger, 68 from Molinari and 68 from Fowler.
Biggest disappointment: It’s hard to call any round under par a “disappointment,” but Saturday will leave Rory McIlroy wondering what could have been. The reigning FedEx Cup champion was looking to build on a second-round 66 with his new equipment, and he got off to a hot start but negated three front-nine birdies with matching bogeys on the back side. He did card back-to-back birdies to finish his round, but his 2-under 70 leaves him eight shots behind Matsuyama and in need major help to pull off the victory Sunday.
Storyline heading into Sunday: Can Matsuyama keep it up? It looks like Matsuyama’s tournament to lose as no one has been able to match the 22-year-old’s birdie-making prowess so far. But if he starts to slip, things could get interesting with six players within seven shots of the lead.
Shot of the day: Matt Kuchar aced the par-3 17th hole from 193 yards with a 5-iron. The Olympic bronze medal winner’s hole-in-one got him to 9 under for the tournament.
Quote of the day: "He’s going to make loads of birdies, so it makes it simple for me. If I want to keep my title I got to aim for the pin and be super aggressive and shoot probably the round of my life." – Knox, the defending champion, on his chances of catching Matsuyama on Sunday.