Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Power and McIlroy in Scheffler-chasing posse in Hilton Head – News – Irish Golf Desk

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Seamus Power and Rory McIlroy face the formidable task of trying to deny Scottie Scheffler his fourth win in five starts at the RBC Heritage.

The world number one and recently crowned Masters champion produced another sensational performance at Harbour Town, carding a bogey-free, eight-under-par 63 to lead by one stroke from Austria’s Sepp Straka on 16-under-par.

Power, who needs a few good weeks to secure his spot in next month’s PGA Championship at Valhalla, signed for a five-under 66 to trail Scheffler by just four strokes.

As for McIlroy, the Co Down man has an even tougher task after a 68 left him six behind Scheffler in a tie for 12th.

The Texan is looking to become the first man to win four times in a five-start stretch since Tiger Woods won seven times and was runner-up in another event in an eight-event run from the end of 2007 to early 2008.

Scheffler has just one shot to spare over Straka, two over Collin Morikawa and three over Sahith Theegala, Patrick Rodgers, and Ludvig Aberg with Power in a four-way tie for seventh with Patrick Cantlay, JT Poston and Tom Hoge.

With the wind set to change direction in the final round, reeling in Scheffler will be a challenge and the title favourite is undoubtedly feeling confident. 

“I think when I’m playing my best, sometimes it feels like I’m competing against myself a little bit out there, trying to keep pushing and stay as focused as I can,” he said when asked if he was playing the field or himself.

“I felt like the back nine Sunday last week was an example of that where I was just trying to keep pushing forward, pushing forward because the golf course is so challenging, anything can happen, and I wanted to build myself up a cushion. By the time we got to 18, I wanted to finish off the tournament the right way.”

Scheffler rounded off his 63 with a birdie and he has no desire to play second fiddle to anyone else.

“At the end of the day, we’re out here competing against the best players in the world,” he said. “I love competing against these guys, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of coming out and competing tomorrow.”

Power has yet to register a top 10 this season as he battles back to full fitness after his hip injury last year.

He’s also 114th in the world rankings with the top 100 exempt for the PGA Championship in Kentucky.

He made an early move with a birdie at the second, added three in a row from the fifth, then followed his lone bogey of the day at the 11th with birdies at the 15th and 18th.

McIlroy looked on course to contest the lead when he birdied three of his first five holes.

But his approach play let him down at times and he mixed three birdies with three bogeys coming home to slip to 12th, six behind.

Shane Lowry improved to 50th on three-under after a 68.

Meanwhile, the third round of the Chevron Championship was suspended due to inclement weather in Texas.

Stephanie Meadow made five birdies, two bogeys and two double-bogey sixes in a one-over 73 to slip to tied 43rd on level par.

She’s 11 strokes behind Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul, who was three-under through 12 holes when play was suspended.

She was just one stroke ahead of world number one Nelly Korda (11 holes) and Canada’s Brooke Henderson, who was eight under for her round with one hole still to complete at The Club at Carlton Woods in the Woodlands.

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