Twenty-six winners from the last PGA Tour season teed off on Saturday. Sixteen other golfers, who qualified by reaching the season-ending Tour Championship, also played. Forty-two players in all — and 40 broke par. They played like their pedigree. Here are three things you need to know after Saturday’s third round of the Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua.
Harris English and Ryan Palmer lead
English, who shared the lead after the first round and led outright after the second, shot a seven-under 66 while Palmer fired a nine-under 64, the day’s low round, and are at 21-under overall. One stroke back is Collin Morikawa, and Daniel Berger is three behind.
English escaped trouble on the par-5 18th. He hit his second shot into the penalty area left of the green, but a marshall found it, and he was able to make par. He’s bogeyed just one hole all week, the 7th during the first round.
Palmer escaped trouble on the par-5 9th. He hit his third shot short of the green, and as it rolled back, he took a swipe at a divot a few yards behind where the ball would end up. After the round, Palmer was questioned by rules officials whether he had tried to improve his lie, and it was decided he hadn’t. From there, Palmer birdied six of his final seven holes.
Collin Morikawa is one shot back
Morikawa shot the day’s second-best round, an eight-under 65, and is in third, one shot back. He nearly matched Palmer’s back nine, birdieing five of his final seven holes.
Berger shot a six-under 67, with five birdies over his final eight holes, and is three shots back. Four strokes back are Sungjae Im and Justin Thomas, and Patrick Cantlay, Billy Horschel and Joaquin Niemann are five behind the leaders.
Justin Thomas apologizes for slur
Thomas apologized after his round after making a homophobic slur after missing a 6-foot par putt on the 4th hole.
Golf Channel’s microphones picked it up, Thomas putted out, there was a pause, and commentator Terry Gannon said, in reference to Thomas: “Well, really unhappy with that one.”
“It’s inexcusable,” Thomas said on Golf Channel after his round. “I, first off, I just apologize. I mean, there’s no excuse. I’m an adult. I’m a grown man. There’s absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that.”