2022 Arnold Palmer Invitational scores: Billy Horschel, Talor Gooch share lead after Round 3 at Bay Hill

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Billy Horschel got a rare break at Bay Hill on a day that punished so many others, leading to a birdie on the 18th hole Saturday for a 1-under 71 that gave him a share of the lead with Talor Gooch in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Horschel was buried in deep rough behind the 18th green and facing a fast chip down the hill. His foot was on a sprinkler head and he received a free drop. From the collar, he was able to use putter and his 30-foot putt trickled into the cup.

"To make that putt on 18, to shoot 1 under on a really tough day is really satisfying," he said.

It was a happy moment, and those were hard to find in a third round where Viktor Hovland lost a four-shot lead at the turn, Matt Jones heaved his putter into the water and Rory McIlroy lost momentum with a tee shot out-of-bounds.

Scottie Scheffler managed to make a charge. After missing three straight par putts from 6 feet or closer to cap off his front nine, Scheffler made three birdies and a 20-foot eagle for a 31 on the back for a 68, matching the low score of the day.

He started the day eight shots behind. He ended it two shots out of the lead. The final group was making the turn when Scheffler finished and he was asked if his round put him back into the tournament.

"I didn't really feel out of it at the beginning of the day," Scheffler said.

He and everyone else had an idea of what to expect on a course that is a strong test in any condition. Add gusts of about 15 mph and greens so baked by the sun there was barely any grass, and this was all the best players in golf could handle.

Rick Gehman and Mark Immelman discuss Saturday's 3rd round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Gooch, the Oklahoman who won his first PGA Tour title in the final event of last year, was up to the task He rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt on the tough 15th, followed with a 15-foot birdie on the next hole and was in the lead until a tee shot into ankle-deep rough on the final hole kept him from reaching the green.

Gooch and Horschel were at 7-under 209.

Hovland suffered as much as anyone. He three-putted from 10 feet on the par-3 second hole, only to recover by holing a bunker shot for eagle on the par-5 sixth with his ball on a slight downslope in the sand and not much green between his ball and the hole.

The back nine turned into a slow bleed, twice taking three putts for bogey and missing the fairway on two other holes. He shot 40 on the back nine for a 75.

Still, he was only one shot behind.

Former U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland overcame three bogeys for a round of 70 nd was three shots behind, followed by the group of Chris Kirk (68), Graeme McDowell (69) and McIlroy, whose 76 could have been worse.

"I feel like I've never had as many 6-footers for bogeys as I've had today," he said.

McIlroy, the 18-hole leader, ran off back-to-back birdies early on the back nine and was making up ground until he lost a tee shot to the right on the 15th hole that bounced into a backyard. That led to double bogey, and he bogeyed the last two holes to fall back.

"It's so tough out there. It's so tricky. It's just on knife's edge," McIlroy said. "You're literally talking like feet -- 2 feet here, 2 feet there from 200 yards can make a huge difference in where the ball ends up."

He was among eight players separated by four shots going into the final round, and with conditions expected to be the same, Bay Hill should be primed for a shootout among survivors.

Jones, meanwhile, hit a brilliant approach on the 11th hole to 8 feet only to have the putt slide off line. He reached the cup about the time the golf ball trickled there, tapped in with one hand and then heaved his putter into the lake.

DIVOTS: Max Homa made an ace on the par-3 14th hole with a pitching wedge from 163 yards, meaning a $200,000 donation by presenting sponsor Mastercard to the Arnold & Winning Palmer Foundation. A year ago on Saturday at Bay Hill, Homa was playing with Jazz Janewattananond when the Thai made a hole-in-one on the 14th hole.

Copyright 2022 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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