Moving day is complete at the 2022 Hero World Challenge, and there was no shortage of action Saturday in the Bahamas.
There were plenty of mud balls, courtesy of a course that remains wet from early-week showers. There was an ace. There’s a player trying to get back to No. 1 in the world and another looking for his first win.
Tournament host Tiger Woods isn’t in the field this week, and while that’s disappointing, there hasn’t been a shortage of excitement at Albany Golf Club.
There are plenty of stars within striking distance with 18 holes to play. Here are some takeaways from the third round.
Defending champion Hovland looking to repeat
Viktor Hovland lines up a putt on the third green during the third round of the 2022 Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Club Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo: Fernando Llano/Associated Press)
Viktor Hovland has defended his title at a PGA Tour event before. If he’s able to hold onto his lead come Sunday at the Hero World Challenge, he’ll do it again.
Hovland, the 36-hole leader, grew his lead in the third round, firing a 8-under 64 to move to 13 under and three shots clear of Scottie Scheffler with 18 holes to play. Hovland had 10 birdies during the third round to only two bogeys, the final one coming on the 18th hole when he failed to get up-and-down from short right of the green.
He had six birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the back nine to grow his lead. He was only two shots off his career-low round, but his putting was stellar in the third round, using the flat stick only 23 times.
Meanwhile, Scheffler’s third round wasn’t too shabby, either. He shot 6-under 66 and sits at 10 under. He’ll be in the final group with Hovland come Sunday.
If Scheffler were to win, which would be his fifth of the calendar year, it would move him back to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Cameron Young searching for first win
Cameron Young tees off on the second hole during the third round of the 2022 Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Club Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo: Fernando Llano/Associated Press)
For a short while during the third round, reigning Tour Rookie of the Year Cameron Young held the lead.
Bogeys on both par 5s on the back nine hampered his round, but it was still enough to move Young into a tie for third. He shot 4 under and is tied with Thomas at 8 under.
Young made a name for runner-up finishes last year, coming in second five times and in third twice.
JT climbing after rough start
Justin Thomas of the United States plays his shot from the first tee during the third round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course on December 03, 2022 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
During Justin Thomas’ opening round, he shot an even-par 72, but it was the chaos during those 18 holes that made it an impressive score.
He was 3 over after 3 holes. He had two double bogeys and two bogeys. But six birdies, including three straight during a stretch on the back nine, helped keep him in it.
That resilience is paying off.
Thomas fired a 6-under 66 on Saturday. He drilled a birdie putt on the 18th hole to get in at 6 under, which was the lowest round recorded for the week at the time. He sits at 8 under for the tournament and could make a push with another low round on Sunday.
“I just feel like I played solid,” Thomas said. “It was a bit of a crapshoot with the mud on the ball, so you just kind of had to really pick your spots a little bit. I had a couple times where you have scoring clubs in your hand, but just given the situation and the amount of wind and what would happen, you just kind of had to make the most of it. I felt like, same as yesterday, I was very patient, very focused and I just kind of plodded my way around. Definitely left some out there, but obviously very pleased with 6 under.”
Put a 1 on the card
Kevin Kisner consults with his caddie Duane Bock on a tee shot during the first round of the 2022 Hero World Challenge at the Albany Golf Club, in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo: Fernando Llano/Associated Press)
Kevin Kisner isn’t having the best week at the Hero World Challenge, but he does have a 1 on the scorecard.
Kisner aced the par-3 12th hole, his ball taking one hot before settling and rolling into the hole from 189 yards out.
During the third round, Kisner marked down a 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 on his scorecard. He sits T-19 at 7 over for the tournament with 18 holes to play.
“I was putting probably the worst of my career today, so I decided just to make it from 189 yards,” Kisner said.