Schauffele and Morikawa are tied at the PGA Champion with a lot of company, except for Scheffler

Xander Schauffele watches his tee shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Valhalla Golf Club, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Matt York)


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa shared the lead at the PGA Championship on a chaotic Saturday, this time for reasons inside the ropes, with more scoring records and constant jockeying for a shot at winning a major.

Just about everyone was involved but Scottie Scheffler.

Schauffele overcame a double bogey late by closing with two birdies for a 3-under 68. Morikawa holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th at Valhalla for a 67. Shane Lowry missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and had to settle for his place in major championship history with a 62 — the second one this week at vulnerable Valhalla.

When the cheers finally ended, Schauffele and Morikawa were at 15-under 198, one shot ahead of Sahith Theegala, who had a 68. The stage was set for endless possibilities in the final round, with 15 players separated by five shots.

The shocker was Scheffler not being among them.

Scheffler was coming off the most heart-racing day of his career that featured an arrest for not following police orders, brief jail time and a 66 to get into contention for a second straight major. But he fell apart early and never quite recovered, ending his streak of 42 consecutive rounds at par or better with a 73.

He was nine shots behind, with 23 players ahead of him.

“Too many mistakes,” Scheffler told CBS. He declined to speak to reporters. “I came out here hoping to have a good round and didn’t get it done.”

Even at the home of the Kentucky Derby, this final round could be tough to handicap.

Lowry’s magnificent performance — he made 161 feet worth of putts — ended with a wedge to just inside 12 feet and a clear shot at 61, only to not give the putt enough pace.

“Probably the most disappointed anyone can ever be shooting 62,” Lowry said. “Look, I went out there with a job to do today, and my job was to try to get myself back in the tournament. And I definitely did that.”

He had plenty of company.

Bryson DeChambeau set off the throng of spectators by chipping in for eagle on the par-5 18th for a 67, pounding his fist in celebration. He joined Lowry at 13-under 200, just two shots behind. Viktor Hovland, the FedEx Cup champion last year who decided to retool his swing and disappeared from leaderboards this year, birdied three of his last four holes for a 66 and also was only two behind.

Justin Rose (64) was three shots back. The group five behind at 10-under 203 included Justin Thomas, the Louisville native who felt chills on a steamy day when he hacked out of the weeds, down to the green and into the cup on the par-3 14th for a most unlikely birdie. He shot 67.

That’s 15 players at 10 under or better, the most through 54 holes in major championship history. The previous record was seven players, most recently at St. Andrews in 2022.

The scoring average for the third round was 69.55, a fraction behind the record for the PGA Championship set at Bellerive in 2018.

This was the day to go low just to stay in the hunt. Scheffler, using fill-in caddie with regular looper Ted Scott attending his daughter’s high school graduation in Louisiana, was in trouble from the start — a double bogey on No. 2 from mangled rough, a tee shot into a hazard left of the reachable par-4 fourth hole.

He was 4 over through four holes, and on three occasions he followed a birdie with a bogey. It was his highest score since a 73 in the third round of the Tour Championship last August.

Now the focus turns to Schauffele, the Olympic gold medalist from the Tokyo Games in 2021 who is trying to bag a silver prize — the heavy Wanamaker Trophy — for his first major. Schauffele has been leading or tied in six of his last seven rounds.

The exception was losing a 54-hole lead last week to Rory McIlroy’s closing 65 at Quail Hollow.

“I just need to stay in my lane, and hopefully it’s enough,” Schauffele said.

Morikawa already had two majors at age 24 and is slowly working his way back to that smooth, repeatable swing. He had one early wobble missing a 4-foot par putt on the second hole, and that was really his only big mistake.

There was no shortage of candidates to claim the second major of the year. The leading six players included three major champions, an Olympic gold medalist and the FedEx Cup champion. And there was Theegala, five shots behind at one point, chipping in from behind the 15th green for one of six birdies on his last 10 holes.

It was crowded at the top, just like it was at Harding Park in 2020, when a dozen players were separated by three shots going into the final round. Morikawa emerged with his first major.

“Look, I’ve played against all these guys. It’s not like any of these guys are new,” Morikawa said. “They all have their accolades within themselves, and really anyone can go low.”


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