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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 21 January 2021

Palmer finishes with birdie blitz to join English in Tournament of Champions lead

Palmer and English share Hawaii lead on 21-under par, with Collin Morikawa a further shot back at the head of the chasing pack.

Palmer: moved to the top with round of 64.
Palmer: moved to the top with round of 64.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

RYAN PALMER BIRDIED six of the last seven holes to share the lead with fellow American Harris English after Saturday’s third round of the US PGA Tournament of Champions.

Palmer fired a bogey-free nine-under par 64 to match English, who shot a bogey-free 66, on 21-under par at the Plantation course at Kapalua, Hawaii.

“It was pretty spot on,” Palmer said of his round. “I drove it pretty well. My putting has really come around.”

English hasn’t made a bogey since the seventh hole of the opening round.

“Extremely satisfied,” English said. “Normally Saturday is my toughest day. I feel like I played really well, stuck to my strategy, stayed patient.

“I’m confident about my game. I felt like I struck it really well.”

World number seven Collin Morikawa, last year’s PGA Championship winner, was third on 20-under with fellow American Daniel Berger fourth on 18-under and South Korea’s Im Sung-jae and Justin Thomas sharing fifth on 17-under.

Palmer has not won a solo PGA event since the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii and English has not won a solo PGA event since 2013 at Mayakoba.

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But both qualified for the Champions event by making the Tour Championship field last year in a special one-year entry rule change due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Palmer was questioned by officials after his round about his actions at the ninth hole, where he botched a chip and kicked a divot while his ball was still rolling nearby. The ball wasn’t on angle to hit the divot and stopped without coming near it.

No penalty was imposed but Palmer was happy to still share the lead.

“I did the old kick a divot,” Palmer said. “The ball stopped five feet away from me. The ball wasn’t going to stop anywhere close to where I was.

“There was no way of me improving my lie whatsoever. There’s no way I’m ever going to try to cheat the game.”

© – AFP, 2021

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