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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 14 December, 2018

McDowell in the hunt for first win since 2015 in final round in California

The Portrush native is two strokes off the pace at the Genesis Open, where Bubba Watson holds the lead.

Graeme McDowell plays his shot from the 17th tee during the third round of the Genesis Open.
Graeme McDowell plays his shot from the 17th tee during the third round of the Genesis Open.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

BUBBA WATSON DAZZLED as the two-time Masters champion hit the front after the third round of the Genesis Open.

Watson — a dual winner of the PGA Tour tournament — carded a six-under-par 65 for a one-shot lead in California on Saturday. The 39-year-old American had five birdies, with a bogey at the par-four 15th hole the only blemish on his penultimate round.

Watson also eagled his first hole of the day as he stormed out of the blocks at the Riviera Country Club. He hit a sensational shot from 200 yards within inches of the hole for an eagle putt and he made no mistake from close range.

Compatriot Patrick Cantlay, who was tied for the lead alongside Graeme McDowell following round two, dropped to second with back-to-back 69s. McDowell, the 2010 US Open champion, is two strokes off the pace alongside Cameron Smith (65), Kevin Na (67) and Tony Finau (68) going into today’s final round.

The Portrush native is chasing his first victory since he won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in 2015. Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy carded a disappointing two-over round of 73 yesterday which left him level-par for the tournament. Padraig Harrington is two shots further back.

Elsewhere, reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Justin Thomas continued his rise up the leaderboard with a four-under-par 67. The US PGA Championship winner recorded an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys which leaves him four shots off the pace.

World number one Dustin Johnson is also six under through 54 holes after shooting a third-round 64. After opening with a 74, Johnson followed up his second-round 69 with another performance in the 60s courtesy of his flawless display. Johnson did not drop a shot, holing an eagle and five birdies to climb 45 positions heading into the final round.

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