Collin Morikawa holds five-shot lead in Hero World Challenge

As Tiger Woods delivered further encouragement about a potential comeback before the end of the year, the new kid on the block was turning his Hero World Challenge into a one-horse race in the Bahamas.

Collin Morikawa smiles after chipping in for an eagle at the third in the third round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course in Nassau. Picture: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.
Collin Morikawa smiles after chipping in for an eagle at the third in the third round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course in Nassau. Picture: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

Following a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 in the third round, Open champion Collin Morikawa opened up a five-shot lead at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas, where Woods is the tournament host.

As the penultimate circuit was taking place, Woods excited his fans by being photographed hitting drivers during an hour-long session on the range here in the week he’d made his first public appearance since a car crash in February that left him with serious leg injuries.

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It is being reported that the 15-time major winner could be set to make his comeback in the PNC Championship in Florida later this month alongside his son, Charlie.

That would be a welcome sight but, with all due respect to Woods, the future is about others and Morikawa certainly looks as though he’s intent on doing something special in the game himself.

The 24-year-old came up on the rails a fortnight ago to win the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and, in the process, become the first American to top the Race to Dubai.

He’s hit the front a lot earlier here as he bids to land a fourth title triumph in 2021 and one that would see him topple Jon Rahm as world No 1, albeit just for two weeks.

It’s only the second time that Morikawa has held a 54-hole lead, having been one in front at the same stage before going on to win the WGC-Workday Championship in Florida earlier in the year.

Despite his big cushion on this occasion, the Californian is taking nothing for granted. "Nothing’s going to be a gimme tomorrow,” he said. “Look, this course, if there's not a lot of wind, a lot of guys out here can make a lot of birdies early on.

“I just have to go out and just play the way I have been. It's not like I'm playing crazy or I'm playing stupid, I'm playing to my strengths and that's what I have to stick with.”

Helped by a chip-in eagle at the third, Morikawa moved to 18-under-par, with four-time major winner Brooks Koepka (69) leading the chase heading into the last day.

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“It's always nice to be in the last group, but I’m five back so I’ve got to do something,” said Koepka after signing for five birdies and a double-bogey.

On changing to Srixon clubs recently, he added: “I'm just more excited seeing the equipment than anything. It's been very, very easy, which is nice.”

Norwegian Viktor Hovland sits joint-third on 12-under along with American quartet Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger, Tony Finau and Sam Burns.

Bryson DeChambeau, who started the day with a one-shot lead, never really recovered from a three-putt from close range in Morikawa’s company. He shot a 73 to slip eight behind.

Rory McIlroy, who shared the first-round lead after an opening 66, now sits 14 shots off the pace after a disappointing 75 that included a quadruple-bogey 9 at the 11th.

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