Solid Kitayama, Scheffler and McIlroy still target failing Jon Rahm’s throne

Behind Kurt Kitayama, still solid at the post despite a heat stroke at the start of the game, Scottie Scheffler climbed to second place in the Arnold Palmer Invitational before the last lap. Rory McIlroy did not abdicate and in the event of victory of one of the two men, Jon Rahm, very far in Bay Hill, would give up his place of world number one.

We knew that the three-way match for the world number one spot would liven up the week of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

It was thought that the delivery of Jon Rahm Thursday would be enough to confirm that he was the indisputable boss of world golf. But the Spaniard, already a three-time winner this year, opened the door by tumbling to 44th place after 54 holes.

A real implosion mid-term on Saturday (5 consecutive bogeys) including Scottie Scheffler et Rory McIlroy will try to take advantage in Orlando this Sunday. In the event of victory, the Northern Irishman would again become world number one, Scheffler would be satisfied with second place if McIlroy does not precede him. (see all scenarios here)

A position occupied by the winner of the Masters on the eve of the last lap at a stroke of Kurt Kitayama while McIlroy is in fifth place three strokes behind the little American.

Kitayama only leader before the last lap

The Californian remains firmly in the lead at Bay Hill thanks to a final long-range birdie putt at 18.

His off-limits throw-in at 4 nevertheless showed that he remains fragile, but the way he recovered from this delicate episode shows a certain resilience.

On alternating current for a good part of the day on Saturday, Scheffler completed his 3rd round with three birdies in a row to join the Norwegian Viktor Hovland at 8.

English Tyrrell Hatton, who signed the best card of the day (66), has completely revived. The winner of the 2020 edition is only one stroke behind this leading trio.

McIlroy also in the rhythm

Badly embarked on Thursday after a first lap over par, Rory McIlroy continues to catch up on the lead.

Of the eight shots that separated him from the leading man after 18 holes, only three remain.

Four birdies and no bogey allowed him to jump to 5th place and the Briton can still hope to climb the top step on Sunday.

Rahm wobbles

Justin Thomas et Jordan Spieth are also in the top 10. The two friends are in 7th position, 4 strokes behind Kitayama. In total, they are still a good ten to be able to claim victory in this very tight classification.

This is not the case of Jon Rahm. The world number one signed a second consecutive card of 76!

The leader of the FedEx Cup had however started ideally with a 65 on Thursday. But something has gone wrong since.

The Basque literally imploded chaining five bogeys from 7 to 11! A score he conceded on almost half the holes (8!) on Saturday.

His chances of victory are gone, but even more worrying, his throne is dangerously teetering.

The video summary of the 3rd round

Le leaderboard

Photo ©DAVID CANNON / David Cannon Collection / Getty Images via AFP

Photo : David Cannon/Getty Images



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