Bridgestone Invitational: Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters grab third-round lead

Bridgestone Invitational: Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters grab third-round lead

Bridgestone Invitational: Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters grab third-round lead

Walker, who will be defending his title at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow next week, was in trouble early with two double-bogeys and two bogeys on the front nine.

"It hadn't been a lot of fun this year", Walker said.

" I hit a lot of good drives out there and it was humbling, but it always is with Rory and I'm used to it".

Perry, a co-leader with Mike Goodes after round one, shot his second straight 65.

He made only three pars over his last 11 holes and wound up with his best chance yet to win in America.

He also seemed to suggest what awaited him Saturday during the third round at Firestone Country Club.

He has been unable to make an impact at the big events, finishing tied for 54th at the Open Championship, tied for 56th at The Players and missing the cut at the US Open.

On a stop-start day at the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Rory McIlroy battled to stay in contention and will fancy his chances going into the weekend after a round of 69 left him at four under and three behind the lead.

"Just channeling my inner Jordan Spieth", he said. Spieth missed a short par putt on the 15th and was slipping behind when he faced an awkward lie from the edge of a bunker.

Jason Day, winless in almost 15 months, also got back into the picture despite some mild back pain. He was in the group at 137.

"My bad golf is getting better", said Pieters, a Firestone first-timer. I still don't know how they shot 61. I never stopped liking the game, but what happened did take away some of the joy.

Day felt he was slowed by the last - and longest - of the rain delays. After the turn, he opened with a birdie at No. 10 and added three more at Nos.

It was like that for everyone who slogged through a 10-hour day.

"It did feel like a marathon, but was a great day".

Walker still isn't out of the woods just yet.

And while that might sound like a cliché, Walker was speaking more from the perspective of a year spent dealing with the effects of Lyme disease and the inconsistency that it has brought to his golf game instead of the usual ups and downs experienced with tournament golf.

"It's day to day", he said. Maybe that's a good thing but my skills aren't all there yet.

"I've been very exhausted and worn out and no strength and it comes and goes".

Pieters birdied four of his first five holes before Johnson made a late surge and drew level on nine-under-par.

The opening round was no place to lose ground in such good scoring conditions.

Only two dozen players from the 76-man field remained under par.

Zach Johnson (-9) - It's been a rough season for Johnson, who has dropped all the way down to 71st in the world rankings.

He rebounded with a birdie at 10, but errant tee shots led to bogeys at 13 and 14 and a birdie at 16 was followed by another bogey at 17.

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