Tony Finau birdied the final three holes in the third round to maintain his three-shot advantage in the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China.
Finau shot 70 on Saturday, as did Englishman Justin Rose and Patrick Reed, who are three back of the lead along with Xander Schauffele.
“I didn’t give up today,” Finau said after reaching 13 under for the tournament. “That’s always my mentality.”
Rose held a two-shot lead as Finau approached the 17th. Rose double-bogeyed and Finau nearly stuck the tee shot, tapping in for birdie to flip the leaderboard. The par-3 17th played as the most difficult hole on the course in over-par average at 3.558 on Saturday.
Rose followed with a bogey on the closing hole to fall three off the lead.
“To still have the lead going into tomorrow, I’m pretty fortunate,” Finau said.
Schauffele shot 69 on Saturday and has never finished in the top 10 of a WGC event. The 2017 PGA Tour rookie of the year has two wins on tour, and both were comebacks.
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood spoiled his own chance to climb the leaderboard with a triple on the 14th. A birdie finish gave Fleetwood a round of 72. He’s tied for fifth with Andrew Putnam and 8 under for the tournament.
Rose said he will need a low round Sunday to overcome Finau.
“Shoot maybe something in the mid 60s,” Rose said of what it’ll take in the final round. “Just got to put that last couple holes behind me and come out a little bit angry tomorrow.”
Five of nine WGC-HSBC third-round leaders have gone on to win the tournament.
“There’s 18 more holes to play and it’s a world class field,” Finau said. “I’ve got to keep my head down for 18 more holes and do my thing.”
–Field Level Media