The Golfy Brand Logo

Harold Varner III’s eight birdies lead to 63, 1-shot lead at RBC Heritage

Harold Varner III's eight birdies lead to 63, 1-shot lead at RBC Heritage

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Harold Varner III shot an 8-under 63 to take a one-shot lead within the RBC Heritage on Saturday in pursuit of his first PGA Tour victory.

Varner had eight birdies in a bogey-free spherical to match Cameron Younger‘s opening rating because the lowest at Harbour City Golf Hyperlinks this week. Varner had an 11-under 202.

Varner will must be simply as crisp Sunday. FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay, 2019 British Open winner Shane Lowry of Eire and Erik van Rooyen of South Africa have been a shot again.

Cantlay, the second-round chief, had a 70. Lowry shot 65, and van Rooyen had a 67.

Former RBC Heritage champ Matt Kuchar, Hudson Swafford, Sepp Straka and Aaron Clever have been 9 underneath. Swafford shot 66, Kuchar and Straka 67 and Clever 68.

Varner has two worldwide victories, profitable the Australian PGA Championship in 2016 and the Saudi Worldwide in February.

He appeared to shoot himself out of competition along with his Friday end, going 4 over his last 4 holes for a 72. However it was a ruling on the sixth that angered Varner – and fueled him for Saturday.

Varner’s tee shot on the par-4 sixth was referred to as out-of-bounds. Varner instructed officers that he noticed a spectator decide up the ball that was ultimately recognized as Varner’s and he could have put it again past the out-of-bounds marker.

The choice stood, Varner made a double bogey and fumed about it. “I’d say I am actually good at placing issues apart, however I didn’t put that apart,” he mentioned.

As an alternative, he used the irritating end to gas his run to the highest. Varner birdied 4 of his first six holes – together with that troublesome sixth – and took the lead with a 10-footer on the sixteenth.

Harbour City is much from Varner’s most well-liked format – “It is my favourite as a result of we will drive right here,” mentioned Varner, who lives in Gastonia, North Carolina – despite the fact that he tied for second right here final yr and has shot within the 60s in six of his previous seven rounds.

Varner mentioned each shot right here is “tremendous uncomfortable.”

“I really feel like I am at all times form of guiding it on the market,” he mentioned. “However if you happen to can information it on the market for 72 holes, you are able to do some injury.”

Lowry, too, bounced again from a 72 on Friday to get inside a shot of the lead. He was uneven at first, following birdies on the second and fifth holes with bogeys on the subsequent one. However he steadied himself after that for a 65, matching his profession low at Harbour City.

Lowry mentioned circumstances, significantly the gusts of 20 mph or extra Friday, had eased and made the often difficult course defenseless.

“Yesterday was simply form of a type of days the place it’s a must to batten down the hatches,” Lowry mentioned.

“Whereas right this moment, I felt like every time you bought a superb quantity,” Lowry mentioned, “you may actually go on the flags. And I did and I hit some good pictures.”

He’ll want extra of that Sunday if he hopes for his third profession tour win and first because the British Open in 2019.

Cantlay ended Friday with a flourish – 4 straight birdies from Nos. 15-18, the hardest stretch of the course – for a two-shot lead.

However he could not discover that kind a lot of this spherical. He caught Varner with birdies on the sixth, seventh and ninth holes, then dropped again with bogeys on the eleventh and twelfth holes. He drew inside a shot of Varner on the 18th gap, his method touchdown inside 5 ft for a closing birdie.

“It had some good, it had some not so good,” Cantlay mentioned. “However I am in a extremely great spot for tomorrow. Particularly with that closing birdie on 18, get somewhat momentum, and I am clearly proper there.”

Tommy Fleetwood, teeing off greater than 3 1/2 hours earlier than Cantlay’s last pairing, posted a 64 to provide first trace of the very gettable course.

Maverick McNealy and Peter Malnati, like Lowry, had 65s. Swafford, Wyndham Clark and Graeme McDowell posted 66s. In all, 45 of the 71 rivals got here in underneath 70.

On Friday, nobody shot decrease than 67 and there have been simply 19 gamers out of 130 who had scores within the 60s.