A near record-setting round sets the stage for final day of the PGA Championship

Shane Lowry knew what was at stake. He was approaching a birdie putt on the 18th green at Valhalla Golf Club on Saturday. Make it, and the 37-year-old Irishman would be the record-holder for the lowest score for a round in a major tournament. Miss it, and well it was still a heck of a day.

Alas, he missed, a rare shot gone wrong on a day where so much went right at the PGA Championship.

“I enjoyed every minute of it, obviously,” Lowry said afterward. “Probably the most disappointed anyone can ever be shooting 62.”

Disappointment has its levels. Lowry became the fifth player in history to shoot a round of 62 at a major. (The fourth happened Thursday with Xander Schauffele’s opening-round 62.) In doing so, he climbed to 13-under par for the tournament, in serious contention heading into Sunday’s final round.

Collin Morikawa and Schauffele tied for the lead at 15 under after another day of low scores, this time on a beautiful Saturday. Sahith Theegala is one stroke back at 14 under. Lowry, Viktor Hovland and Bryson DeChambeau are two off the lead at 13 under before Sunday’s final 18 holes.

So what was Lowry thinking approaching that potential record-setting putt?

“I knew I just really wanted to hole it. Probably too much,” he said. “I kind of stood back and allowed myself to enjoy the moment. It was a pretty cool moment to have. It would have been a pretty cool moment to kind of seal the deal and do it.”

But … “I just didn’t hit the ball hard enough.”

Lowry won the 2019 British Open but hasn’t seriously contended for another major win since. He did finish tied for 12th in last year’s PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina. But he was 43rd in this year’s Masters and finished tied for 47th in last week’s Wells Fargo.

“I feel like I’ve sort of changed up how I’ve been practicing the last two weeks, sort of getting away from the technical side of it and just trying to hole putts and just doing a lot of drills,” he said. “But yeah, it’s nice to finally see a few going in the hole.”

Shane Lowry is congratulated by Justin Rose after shooting a 62 during the third round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville on Saturday.
Shane Lowry is congratulated by Justin Rose after shooting a 62 during the third round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville on Saturday.

It did not go in the hole for Scottie Scheffler. Not soon enough, anyway. At the end of a bizarre Friday in which Scheffler was arrested for allegedly disobeying a police officer’s order, the unflappable golfer shot a 66. Saturday, he surprisingly dropped back into the pack with a 2-over 73. The world’s No. 1-ranked golfer will start Sunday tied for 24th.

It did go in the hole for DeChambeau, who eagled No. 18 to go to 13 under for the tournament. The 30-year-old is looking for his second major win to go with his 2020 U.S. Open title. He tied for fourth in last year’s PGA Championship and tied for sixth in this year’s Masters. After a 65 Friday, DeChambeau shot 67 Saturday.

Local hero Justin Thomas is at 10 under after birding the 17th hole. Thomas is a two-time PGA Championship winner but has missed the cut in three of his last four major tournaments, including this year’s Masters.

The leader after Friday, the 30-year-old Schauffele has failed to close out tournaments before. He’s 1-for-6 when leading after 36 holes. His double bogey on 15 Saturday led to a 68 that kept him from the outright lead after 54 holes. No. 3 in the world rankings, Schauffele has four top-three finishes in majors but is looking for his first major victory.

“I typically love Sundays,” Schauffele said. “think I need to really just stay in my lane and do a lot of what I’ve been doing and just worry about myself.”

The 27-year-old Morikawa won the 2020 PGA Championship and the 2021 British Open. Ranked 13th in the world, he busted out of a slump by finishing third in the Masters despite a final-round 74. He had tied for Friday’s low round with a 65 before shooting a 67 Saturday.

What about the man who shot 62 on Saturday? What is his mindset for Sunday?

“Look, I’m going to enjoy this round,” Lowry said. “I’ll go back, put my feet up tonight, have some dinner, hopefully get some sleep and get out there and just fight hard tomorrow and go out and give it my best.”

2024 PGA Championship: Final-round leaderboard from Louisville

Louisville mayor: There’s no body-worn camera footage of Scottie Scheffler’s arrest

On tragic day at PGA Championship, Scottie Scheffler became the story after the story

Scottie Scheffler arrested before PGA Championship Friday, then completes second round