Justin Rose takes four-stroke lead into final day at Colonial

May 26, 2018

FORT WORTH, Texas — Justin Rose birdied the first three holes to quickly extend his lead at the Fort Worth Invitational and finished with a 4-under 66 on Saturday to take a four-stroke advantage into the final round at Colonial.

Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion and Olympic gold medalist with eight PGA Tour victories, was 14 under. Emiliano Grillo, his playing partner, shot 69 and was at 10 under with Brooks Koepka, who had a 67.

After a two-putt birdie at the opening par 5, Rose had back-to-back birdie putts to get to 13 under. That put him four strokes ahead of Grillo, who had eight pars in a row before consecutive birdies on Nos. 9 and 10.

The closest Grillo got after the opening stretch was three strokes, when he was 11 under with an 8-foot birdie at No. 10. Rose regained his four-stroke edge with birdie at the 616-yard 11th hole, and his only bogey was at the 173-yard 16th, when the tee shot settled on the back fringe and he then missed a 5-foot par chance.

Rose has the largest 54-hole lead at the Hogan’s Alley since Kenny Perryled by seven in 2005 on way to his second decisive win in three years — he had a record eight-stroke lead for three rounds in 2003. The largest lead anyone had taken into the final round since had been two strokes, and that had happened only twice.

Canadian rookie Corey Conners had eight birdies over his last 12 holes for a career-best round of 63 that matched Ted Potter Jr. for the best of the day.

Conners was tied for fourth at 8 under, in a group of five players that included Jon Rahm, the world’s fourth-ranked player, and Louis Oosthuizen after they both shot 64. Five more players were at 7 under, including Potter.

Rahm, who last year tied for second at Colonial with Jordan Spieth behind winner Kevin Kisner, was 6 under after 10 holes Saturday. Then Rahm bogeyed the 616-yard par-5 11th when he followed a 342-yard drive in the fairway with an approach hit out of bounds.

Before playing his first Colonial last year, the 23-year-old Spaniard had been there during tournament week the previous two years to accept the Ben Hogan Award that goes to the nation’s top college golfer. He was a four-time All-American at Arizona State.

Spieth shot 70 on Saturday, putting him 11 strokes back at 3 under.