Justin Thomas made bookend bogeys but piled up eight birdies in between en route to a one-shot lead over Patrick Reed and Erik van Rooyen in the third round at the WGC-Mexico Championship on Saturday.
On a day when overnight leader Bryson DeChambeau self-destructed, Thomas carded six-under-par 65 at Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City.
Two years after losing a playoff to Phil Mickelson, Thomas has a chance to avenge that near-miss and claim a 13th PGA Tour victory.
“I really want that first place. I definitely feel like I have a bit of unfinished business here,” said Thomas after posting a 15-under 198 total.
Fellow American Reed (67) hit an unusually poor bunker shot to bogey the final hole and slip back into a tie for second with South African van Rooyen (67).
American DeChambeau struggled to a 71, hitting a series of poor shots down the stretch and compounding his misery by missing several short putts as he frittered away a handy lead with three late bogeys.
He fell back into a tie for fourth with Spaniard Jon Rahm (61) and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (68), four strokes from the lead.
Rahm’s course record, which tied his career-best score, included a hole-in-one at the 158-yard 17th, where his ball went in on the second bounce.
If Rahm was near perfect, second-placed Reed lamented several mental errors.
“It was a little sloppy today. I still hit a lot of quality shots but hit some shots that were question marks,” said the 2018 Masters champion.
“If a sloppy day around here equals six birdies, as long as I get a bit tighter I should make a lot more.”