2014 Northern Trust Open: Fast track playing into McGirt’s hands

William McGirt golfer

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William McGirt is clearly relishing the conditions at Riviera in California after carding a fine third-round of 65 to establish a surprise two-shot lead going into the final day.

The 34-year-old flew out of the traps on Saturday with five birdies and a bogey in his opening six holes, before picking up three more shots in the first four holes after the turn.

He did drop a shot at the 15th and looked in danger of ending his round with a bogey following a wayward tee shot, but the fast conditions helped his ball past the dog-leg and he saved his par.

McGirt finds himself in unfamiliar territory having missed the cut on his two previous appearances at the course, but is hoping for more of the same going into Sunday’s climax.

“I’ll take 65 any day, especially around this place. It’s playing really well this week, the fairways have finally firmed up,” said McGirt.

“I’ve never seen it this firm. I’m hitting a lot less clubs into a lot of holes which makes it a lot easier for me. I need it to play fast.”

Charlie Beljan and George McNeil share second place at 10-under-par after rounds of 68 and 66 respectively, with Jason Allred (67) and Brian Harman (68) a further shot back.

Dustin Johnson – a runner-up last week – is on offer at 7.00 to overturn a four-shot deficit as he lies in a group of seven at eight-under, which includes Bubba Watson (12.00) and AT&T Pro-Am winner Jimmy Walker (10.00).

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