PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — Emiliano Grillo steadied himself with a pair of birdies over the last six holes Saturday for a 3-under 68, giving the Argentine a one-shot lead going into the final round of the Mayakoba Classic.
Tom Hoge, without a win in his PGA Tour career, birdied four of the last five holes at El Camaleon Golf Club for a 65 to get within one shot of the lead.
After two days of rain, the course was soft and susceptible to low scores as players were allowed to clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.
Adam Long ran off seven birdies on his opening nine holes en route to a 63. Justin Thomas, who started on the back nine, played bogey-free for a 62 to pull within four shots.
Tony Finau made a hole-in-one on the 103-yard fourth hole with a gap wedge. He followed with three more birdies on the front nine and got within one shot of Grillo at one point, but he was wild with the driver and wound up with a 69, leaving him five shots behind.
Grillo was at 16-under 197. His only victory was in the season-opening Safeway Open in 2015 in his debut as a PGA Tour rookie.
“Started in the lead; finished in the lead. That’s kind of the idea,” Grillo said. “Hopefully, one more of those.”
Even so, it figures to be a wild chase in the final official PGA Tour event of the year. Ten players were separated by five shots.
“Didn’t have it on the back nine for me. Luckily I’m still within reach,” Finau said. “A lot of guys scored today. Hopefully, I’m one of those guys tomorrow that takes it low.”
Viktor Hovland, who won in Puerto Rico in one of the final events before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down golf for three months, put together a string of birdies of his own down the stretch for a 63 that left him alone in third, two shots behind.