Rahm in shared lead as Asian star Tom Kim is in hunt at The American Express
California, Jan 22 (IANS) Jon Rahm rose to the top with another superb round of 65, this time on the Stadium Course as he moved to 23-under and shared the lead with rookie Davis Thompson, who had a 67 at the same course in The American Express.
The story continued to be Korea's rising star Tom Kim (67) at Stadium Course as he continued to chase Tiger Woods' record of requiring only 23 starts to secure a third PGA TOUR victory. Kim is 18-under and tied fifth with Sam Burns, Taylor Montgomery and Harry Higgs.
JT Poston and Christiaan Bezuidenhout are tied third at 19-under.
World No. 4 Rahm, the 2018 winner of The American Express, will aim to become the first multiple-winner on TOUR in the 2022-23 season by following up on his Sentry Tournament of Champions three weeks ago where he came from behind to beat Collin Morikawa.
Rahm was 8-under through 12 holes courtesy of an eagle and six birdies before conceding his only bogey at the last. Rahm had 17 of 18 greens in regulation.
The 20-year-old Kim calmly rolled in a birdie from 12 feet at the last hole for a third round of 5-under 67 at PGA West Stadium Course on Saturday for tied fifth place on 18-under 198, five strokes behind joint third round leaders Rahm and Thompson, who signed for a 65 and 67 respectively.
Following wins at the Wyndham Championship and Shriners Children's Open last year which made him the first golfer since Woods to win twice before turning 21, the talented youngster faces an uphill battle to secure a third victory, especially against an in-form Rahm, who himself had come from seven back two weeks ago to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
Kim will also aspire to make it a second win in as many weeks for Korea following compatriot Si Woo Kim's triumph at the Sony Open in Hawaii last weekend.
Another Korean Sungjae Im birdied three of his last six holes at La Quinta Country Club for a 68 and 17-under total to be tied for the ninth spot.
Compatriots Si Woo (69), Byeong Hun An (63) and China's Marty Dou (68) were the other Asians to survive the 54-hole cut, finishing the third round in T27 on 203, T36 on 204 and T62 on 206 respectively.