Chris Kirk: “You certainly can’t protect anything out here. When it’s a shootout like this and the scores are really low, you just stay aggressive and do your thing. I may play great and somebody may play a little better.” Watch the final round live on Sky Sports on Sunday (5.30pm)
American Chris Kirk heads into the final round of the PGA Tour season opener in
Hawaii with a one-stroke lead, while England’s Matt Fitzpatrick sits four shots back.
Kirk hit eight birdies and a bogey in a third-round 66 to push his way into pole position at The Sentry in Maui.
World No 1 Scottie Scheffler, the halfway leader, hit a 71 to drop three shots off the lead.
England’s Tyrrell Hatton could not replicate Friday’s 62, carding a 72 and dropping into a tie for 14th a further two shots back.
Fellow Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick is four shots off the pace in a share of 10th after a 69.
American Akshay Bhatia, 21, pushed his way into second spot, one stroke behind Kirk on 20 under, while Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Byeong Hun An are a further stroke back in third.
Kirk said he will have to remain aggressive to hold his lead.
“You certainly can’t protect anything out here, that’s for sure,” he said.
“When it’s a shootout like this and the scores are really low, you just stay aggressive and just go do your thing.
“I may go play great (Sunday), and somebody may play a little bit better. There’s only so much control you have over that.
“So, you just kind of stay with your process and just go do it. It’s fun just to be here and enjoy Hawaii and be able to make some nice free swings in this warm weather. I always loved coming here.”
The Sentry is the season-opening event of the 2024 PGA Tour season, and only the top 50 in last season’s FedEx Cup playoffs plus any player who won a tournament were invited to the field. There is no 36-hole cut.
Defending champion Jon Rahm of Spain is not there after switching allegiances to LIV Golf.