Australian Steven Bowditch and former US Open winning Englishman Justin Rose have stormed up the leaderboard after the third round of the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational with a pair of scintillating seven-under 63s.
Bowditch was the first to best the lowest round of the week by two shots to shoot from obscurity into a tie for fourth place at five-under but he was later matched by Rose, who catapulted into the lead at nine-under-201.
Overnight leader Jim Furyk could only muster a 69 but remains up top with Rose, searching to break his duck at the event where he has nine top 10s without a win.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry (67) sits third outright at seven under. I felt like I was more in the zone and feeling really comfortable middle of the back nine. It was nice to continue to make the birdies and as we got towards the business end of things, it was nice to finish strong, Rose said.
Bowditch claimed to be battling his confidence and swing but still managed to birdie three of his opening six holes on Saturday before closing the front nine with a 37-foot bomb for another birdie and a front side 31.
Another birdie on the 11th was tempered by his only bogey on the 13th before he almost holed out from the fairway on the 14th for another birdie.
The Queenslander poured one in from the collar of the green on the 16th and then buried a 12-foot birdie on the last to stake his claim on the elite 77-man no-cut tournament.
“The front nine was very much a struggle again actually with my golf swing. I felt uncomfortable, and I was stuck in some places,” Bowditch said.
“And then I made a really good swing on 14, hit a really good drive down there and created a feeling that I had the last sort of six, seven weeks.
“From there, I didn’t miss a golf shot. I hit it dead where I wanted to hit it basically. Hopefully, I can carry it into tomorrow.”
World No.4 Jason Day looked set to at least join Bowditch at five under with three birdies through his opening 15 holes before the par-five-16th ruined his run for the third straight round.
Day made bogeys at the hole on the opening two days, but the Queenslander looked set to break the trend when he sat in the fairway with just 111 yards to go to the pin after two shots. But two balls in the water later he needed to make a 22-footer just to salvage a triple bogey eight.
His 70 left him at two-under-208 in a tie for 13th and in need of a Sunday miracle.
“To play that par five in five-over through three days is just unacceptable, you should be making birdies,” Day lamented.
“I just have to come out tomorrow, pick my moments and try to go very low and see what happens.”
Adam Scott’s chances are gone after a 71 left him tied with Marc Leishman (70) for 33rd at two-over.
Andrew Dodt (+10) and Nick Cullen (+16) remain near the rear of the field.