Keith Mitchell leads Rory McIlroy by two strokes following three rounds of the Wells Fargo Championship, where Bryson DeChambeau endured a whirlwind 24 hours. American golfer Mitchell carded a five-under-par 66 to surge to the top of the leaderboard at Quail Hollow on Saturday.
Mitchell, whose solitary PGA Tour title came via the 2019 Honda Classic, was flawless in the penultimate round after holing five birdies without dropping a shot. But four-time major champion McIlroy is lurking in Charlotte, where the two-time Wells Fargo Championship winner is two shots off the pace.
Former world number one McIlroy, who raced out to the lead, posted a three-under-par 68 to be tied for second position alongside Gary Woodland (70). McIlroy was also two strokes back at the halfway stage of the tournament on Friday, having made the cut for the first time in two months.
A healthy crowd was in attendance to watch McIlroy lurk heading into the final round and the Northern Irish star – amid the coronavirus pandemic that has impacted attendances – said, "I sort of realised that it's hard for me to bring the best out in myself without that atmosphere that we had today. I'm excited to be in the position I'm in."
U.S. Open champion DeChambeau ended the day eight shots behind Mitchell following his third-round 68. DeChambeau flew home to Dallas on Friday after thinking he missed the cut. When the cut changed, the American star boarded another flight back to Charlotte.
"It was funny," said DeChambeau. "We did a lot of scrambling last night to get back. One of the scenarios was like turning right back around, but the crew couldn't, you know, refuel and their hours were out. So we had to get a new crew, if anything, and it just didn't work out.
"So we're like, 'Well, let's just go in the morning'. So I left at 02:45am on a flight and I got here at 06:20am Drove 30 minutes to the golf course, put on my clothes in the locker room and headed out to the putting green. I did get a workout last night, though."
DeChambeau has a double-bogey or worse in each of his rounds at this year's Wells Fargo Championship. It is the fifth time in his career that he has recorded at least one double-bogey or worse in each of the first three rounds of a Tour event.