Woodland stays in front with a big putt at Kapalua

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Rory McIlroy remains in contention heading into the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

American Gary Woodland, and clearly benefitting from a decision to commence working with putting expert, Phil Kenyon, continues to lead the "winners-only" event finding the "side door" for birdie at the 18th hole and this after brilliantly eagling the par-5 15th hole in an eventual round of 68 for a three-shot lead at 17-under par.

Xander Schauffele was selected the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year two seasons ago and has been trying to prove it was no fluke. He holed a wedge from 107 yards for another eagle on No. 12.

McIlroy headed into round three sharing second place with two others at nine-under par and also three strokes adrift of Woodland and while Woodland remains three clear, on the plus side for McIlroy is that he's come from behind in seven of his 14 PGA Tour wins, including the past three, to capture victory. In the group behind him, Woodland made his long eagle putt to regain the lead.

Woodland, seeking his fourth PGA Tour win, used a streak of five consecutive birdies, beginning at the No. 11, to reach 12-under 134. Instead, discussing who would win the battle between overnight leader Gary Woodland and playing partner Rory McIlroy took centre stage, and Schauffele's case wasn't helped with an opening hole bogey.

It was good enough to win all but three tournaments held at Kapalua.

"I played great", said Woodland, "I would have liked to see a couple of putts go in early".

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"It's been very windy in Jupiter the last few weeks and I've been practicing a lot in the wind", said McIlroy, who has had no problem with wind that's gusted, at times, up to 35 miles per hour this week.

Woodland couldn't think of much he did wrong except fail to take advantage of a few pins he could have played to more aggressively.

Woodland, a three-time victor on the PGA Tour who led by three strokes after the second and third rounds, closed with a 68 but missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole that would have forced a playoff. "I didn't have a bogey today and I can go out and make that a goal tomorrow", he said.

Schauffele wasn't finished. He hammered a 5-wood onto the green at the 18th to about 12 feet, narrowly missing his third eagle of the final round. I want my driving accuracy to get up into the 60 percent number.

"I obviously could have shot a better score, but I did what I wanted to do, gave myself plenty of chances, just couldn't get the ball to drop". He was just a shot off the Kapalua course record and remarkably, his round included a bogey at the first hole when he pulled his drive way left.

Xander Schauffele reacts after making birdie on the 14th green during the final round of the Tournament of Champions golf event, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, at Kapalua Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii.

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