Justin Thomas holds third-round lead in WGC-Mexico

By The Sports Xchange  |  March 5, 2017 at 1:22 AM
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March 5 (UPI) -- A star-studded leaderboard at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship found Justin Thomas on top by one shot after a hole-in-one during the third round on Saturday in Mexico City.

Thomas shot a second consecutive 5-under-par 66 to put him at 12-under 201 through 54 holes at Club de Golf Chapultepec.

Right behind him is Dustin Johnson at 11-under 202 after a 66. Just behind Johnson is second-round leader Rory McIlroy at 10 under after a 70.

Also at 10 under is Phil Mickelson, who shot a second straight 68 to remain in contention in the PGA Tour event.

And then there's Jordan Spieth a little farther back at 7 under after blistering the course with an 8-under 63.

The 23-year-old Thomas, who won two tournaments in a row in January, aced the par-3, 232-yard 13th hole to move into a share of the lead at that point.

A bogey on his next hole dropped him from the top, but then he posted back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 to take command again.

"I felt like it was just fractionally into the wind, but we were trying to land it about six to eight paces short, just kind of before it goes down a little bit," Thomas said of his second career hole-in-one on the tour. "It was a little bit into the wind so I knew it was just a good, smooth 6-iron.

"It was really one of the few times today I had a good number. I kept being in between a lot, so I just tried to put a confident swing on it and I just absolutely flushed it and it was cool to see the gallery go nuts up there."

Johnson won his last time out at the Genesis Open and put himself in contention in Mexico for his 14th career PGA Tour title. He won this event in 2015.

Going into this week as the No. 1-ranked player for the first time, Johnson had a share of the third-round lead until his second shot landed in a tree on No. 16 and he ended up with a bogey.

"If it's not the greens -- someone is playing goalie up by the hole -- the trees are catching my ball," Johnson said.

Mickelson birdied Nos. 15, 16 and 17 to reach 11 under, but a bogey on the final hole dropped him two behind Thomas and left him dismayed. He wasn't able to put the ball in the fairway until the 16th hole.

"I wanted to go out here and strike the ball the way I've been striking it, and then to hit it the way I did was disappointing," Mickelson said.

Spieth's 63 was one shy of the tournament record. His round featured six birdies, eagle-2 at No. 1 (his 10th hole of the day) and no bogeys.

McIlroy's last birdie of the round came on the par-5 11th hole.

"One of those days," McIlroy said. "Just couldn't really put a few good holes together."

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