“Winning is the best feeling. Might try and do it more often now,” wrote Russell Knox on Twitter following his victory in the WGC-HSBC Champions. Seven days on from that Shanghai success, the Scot has given himself the chance to back up those words.
Following a second successive six-under-par 65 at El Camaelon Golf Club, the 30-year-old is just three shots off the lead heading into the final round of the PGA Tour’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
On 13-under-par for 54 holes, having dropped his only shot of the day at the last, Knox is lying joint-third behind American Derek Fathauer (66) as the Scot bids to waste no time at all backing up his Shanghai success.
“Obviously my confidence is high, but I’m as relaxed as I’ll ever be,” said Knox, who rose more than 50 spots to 31st in the world rankings and also secured a three-year exemption for the PGA Tour on the back of that breakthrough win.
Five shots off the halfway lead, the Invernesian stormed to the turn in five-under 31, helped by a burst of four birdies in a row from the fifth, before picking up further shots at the 11th and 13th.
After a near 90-minute delay due to the threat of lightning, Knox returned to play his final two holes, three-putting from long range at the 18th for his solitary bogey.
“I’m just trying to enjoy every minute of this,” added the Jacksonville Beach-based player, who has two major winners, Justin Leonard and Graeme McDowell, alongside him.
Fathauer, meanwhile, enjoyed a bogey-free day on his way to another 6-under 66 that gave him a one-shot lead and a chance to extend an unusual streak on the PGA Tour.
First-time winners have captured all five of the PGA Tour events at the start of the wraparound season.
Fathauer would love to make it six in a row. “I’ve just got to have fun, play golf, play my game, and whatever happens will happen,” he said.
Fathauer was at 16-under 197 and led by one shot over Jason Bohn, who missed a 5-foot par putt on the final hole. Bohn took the lead on the par-5 13th hole with a 25-foot eagle putt right before the third round was halted for nearly 90 minutes because of storms in the area. Bohn had to scramble for pars late in his round and couldn’t save the last one. He shot a 65.
Bohn was the 54-hole leader at Mayakoba a year ago until closing with a 74.
“I don’t want to do what I did last year on Sunday,” Bohn said. “The only thing I can draw on is how I’ve been playing. I’ve got to embrace it, have fun and realise where I am. If I give myself enough chances, I’m going to win one.”
He already has come close twice this year. Bohn finished one shot out of a play-off in the season-opening Frys.com Open, courtesy for a fluffed pitch. A week later in Las Vegas, he finished one shot off the lead.
Elsewhere, David Law and Paul Shields fared best among the eight Scots on the opening day of the European Tour Qualifying School at PGA Catalunya, near Girona. They both carded three-under 67s on the Tour Course, where Australian Nick Cullen led with a 61.
Cullen was immaculate, with four birdies on the way out and five more coming back as his bogey-free start put him ahead of Spain’s Pep Angles and South African Michael G Palmer at the top of the leaderboard.