NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Justin Rose already has one win at Aronimink.
He may have earned another one Saturday.
Rose holds a one-shot lead over Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy after the third round of the BMW Championship. With an ominous forecast for Sunday, there is a chance that the tournament may be reduced to 54 holes.
Final round tee times were moved up to 7 a.m. because of Sunday’s rain forecast. Aronimink already has been soaked this week, including heavy rain that delayed the start of the third round.
Rose won the 2010 Quicken Loans National at Aronimink and claimed the 2013 U.S. Open at nearby Merion.
“I do like this style of golf. I like traditional golf courses. It reminds me of how I grew up playing golf,” said Rose, the 38-year-old Englishman.
He shot 10 under par to win here eight years ago. Scores are much lower this time, in part because of the soft conditions. He is at 17-under 193 after shooting 66-63-64. McIlroy fired 63 to get in the final group while Schauffele bogeyed the final hole to shoot 67 and give Rose the lead.
Saturday’s scoring average was 67.16.
Schauffele hit his final approach shot onto the right fringe. He left his first putt 10 feet short, then lipped out the par putt. It was his first bogey in 23 holes, and just his third of the tournament.
The final group of Rose, McIlroy and Schauffele is scheduled to tee off at 8:50 a.m. Sunday.
Schauffele started the day with a two-shot advantage over Rose. Schauffele shot 32 on the front nine, but it wasn’t enough to keep his lead. Rose only needed to make one putt outside 10 feet to shoot 29 on the front nine and take a one-shot lead.
Both players parred the first six holes of the back nine.
Schauffele birdied the par-5 16th hole to match Rose at 17 under. Then Rose executed an improbable up-and-down to stay tied.
Rose’s tee shot on the 209-yard, par-3 17th came to rest on the thick grass on the edge of a bunker. Rose gripped down to the steel of his wedge and made a baseball swing while standing in the sand. The ball popped out and came to rest just 3 feet from the hole.
“It was a fun shot but not really where I wanted to be,” Rose said. “It was something that maybe you don't practice. Lots of improvising.”
Rose had a 16-foot birdie putt on the final green but left it short, just as he had done on several birdie opportunities earlier on the back nine.
If play is called, Rose would earn his second win at the BMW Championship. He also won in 2011, the only other season when he was in the top 5 of the FedExCup standings when he arrived at East Lake.
Rose would move up one spot to No. 2 in the FedExCup standings if play is unable to continue. He doesn’t expect to have his 10th PGA TOUR title handed him to Sunday, even if the forecast says that is a possibility.
“I've got to be ready to play and come out in the morning, full game-face mode tomorrow,” he said.
SCHAUFFELE’S FINAL STROKE
Schauffele’s missed putt may have cost him the lead – and possibly his first win of the season – but there is some consolation for the reigning Rookie of the Year.
He is projected to earn a return to East Lake, where he won last year’s TOUR Championship.
Schauffele started this week ranked 41st in the FedExCup. He will move to 12th if he can stay in a tie for second (or play is called). This could be his third runner-up of the season. He also finished second at THE PLAYERS Championship and The Open Championship.
Schauffele would be the fourth player in the FedExCup era to qualify for the TOUR Championship the year after advancing to East Lake as a rookie. Jordan Spieth, Keegan Bradley and Daniel Berger did it previously. Patrick Cantlay, currently No. 12 in the FedExCup is also on pace to return to East Lake after advancing as a rookie.
Xander Schauffele interview after Round 3 of BMW
Tiger Woods shot 66 but, much like the second round, was frustrated with his inability to capitalize on his birdie opportunities. He birdied the first two holes to pull within three shots of the lead but couldn’t get any closer. He is tied for 11th place at 12-under 198 (62-70-66). Woods hit his first 11 greens Saturday and had eight birdie putts of 20 feet or less during that span. He made just two of them.
Rory McIlroy capped Saturday’s 63 with a 41-footer for birdie. It was his seventh of the day. He also made eagle at the par-5 ninth hole.
McIlroy’s round could have been even lower if not for a double-bogey at the par-3 eighth hole, where he bladed his chip shot. He responded by hitting a fairway wood to 8 feet and draining the eagle putt.
McIlroy shared the first-round lead with Tiger Woods after flirting with a sub-60 round. He bogeyed two of his final three holes, though, to fire 62.
Tommy Fleetwood fired 60 in the BMW Championship’s pro-am. It was a harbinger, though it didn’t seem that way after he shot 1 over par in the first round. Fleetwood fired consecutive 62s to vault into contention at Aronimink. He is two shots off the lead after firing the lowest back-to-back rounds of this season. He has hit 33 of 36 greens in the past two days.
Rory McIlroy makes eagle on No. 9 at BMW
QUOTABLESVery tired.I hope we play. I feel like my game is in good shape and I'd love to get another crack at it out there.
Low round: Tommy Fleetwood’s 62 was one stroke better than the scores posted by McIlroy, Austin Cook and Adam Hadwin.
Longest drive: Ryan Palmer hit a 341-yard tee shot on the par-4 seventh hole.
Longest putt: Abraham Ancer holed one from 45 feet, 11 inches.
Hardest hole: The 469-yard, par-4 18th hole played to a 4.1 scoring average.
Easiest hole: The 556-yard, par-5 16th hole played to a 4.4 scoring average.
Tommy Fleetwood interview after Round 3 of BMW
CALL OF THE DAY
For play-by-play coverage of the final round of the BMW Championship, listen at PGATOUR.COM.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Adam Hadwin clutch hole out for Shot of the Day