CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, United States (AFP) – Billy Horschel, who is determined to put Monday’s tough finish fast behind him, fired a third-round 63 to vault three shots clear of the field at the BMW Championship.
Horschel capped his bogey-free round at the Cherry Hills Country Club by rolling in a 32-foot birdie putt on No 18.
It was a far cry from his final hole at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday when he chunked his second shot well short into the hazard and had to settle for a bogey.
Horschel finished in a tie for second place after having arrived at the 18th tee just one shot behind winner Chris Kirk.
“I was over it real quickly,” Horschel said. “It was just a bad swing at the wrong time.
“There are bigger things in life than hitting a fat six iron in a hazard.”
Tell that to world number one Rory McIlroy, who suffered the ignominy of a triple-bogey in his third round.
McIlroy’s assault threatened to dissolve as he four putted on the par-three 12th. The Northern Irishman ended up posting a 72, which dropped him into a tie for 10th at four-under 206.
McIlroy joked about his triple-bogey wobble on Twitter.
“Glad everybody enjoyed my 4 putt today… always tomorrow to get a few shots back and get up that leaderboard!” he said.
Horschel ended 54 holes at 13-under-par 197 at the $8 million Colorado PGA Tour event.
Ryan Palmer, who was runner-up at the Humana Challenge and The Honda Classic, posted a 67 and is alone in second on 200.
US Open champion Martin Kaymer (64) and Masters winner Bubba Watson (66) share third place at eight-under 202, five shots adrift of Horschel but still in the hunt.
But the day belonged to the 27-year-old American Horschel, who had seven birdies and 11 pars.
Horschel, of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, matched the tournament’s 54-hole scoring record with his total of 197.
Camilo Villegas set the mark in 2008 at Bellerive golf course and Tiger Woods matched it a year later at the Cog Hill course.
Horschel is projected to move to first place in the FedEx Cup points standings with a victory at Cherry Hills.
“I just came to the realisation that I was being too hard on myself,” he said of Monday’s blunder. “I am not nearly as frustrated when I hit a bad shot. I know that it happens.”
On Saturday, Horschel drained a 22-foot birdie chance on the 14th and followed it up with an eight-foot birdie on the next hole. His run was briefly stopped with a par at the 16th.
On the par-five 17th, Horschel’s second shot landed on the green. He then two-putted for birdie to move to 12-under. He was already alone in the lead when he posted another birdie at No 18.
“I played really solid,” he said. “The goal today was to make no bogeys. I didn’t know I was leading. I am just out there trying to do my thing and hopefully things will go my way.
“That putt on 18 was a bonus.”