McIlroy and Poulter three shots back in Ohio

World Number Three Justin Thomas will take a three-shot lead into the final day of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after producing a stunning 67 on a day of tougher scoring at Firestone Country Club.

Thomas, who will defend his US PGA Championship title at Bellerive Country Club next week, has a star-studded chasing pack breathing down his neck, with 2014 champion Rory McIlroy and Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter in a tie for second on 11 under.

With the course firming up throughout the afternoon, the scoring average soared on day three but halfway co-leader Thomas seemed unfazed, mixing six birdies with three bogeys on Saturday to get to 14 under par.

“I played well again today,” said Thomas. “I didn’t get off to the start that I have been the last couple days, but made a good birdie on two after a not very good drive, but I got away with one. Made a couple bogeys there on the par threes with a pretty easy bunker shot, so that was a little upsetting. But overall I really, really played well in the middle of the round and made a lot of key birdies.”

McIlroy posted a bogey-free 67, with his birdies coming at the second, ninth and 17th on day three, while Poulter’s 70 was made up of four birdies and four bogeys.

“Three out of four (WGC titles) would be amazing,” said Poulter. “I’m going to need some inspiration from Thursday, going clean, not making any mistakes and just have some fun. I’m in a great position, I’m enjoying my golf. It’s great being up that end of the leaderboard.”

Major Champion Jason Day was another shot back on ten under after his third-round 69, which included a chip-in birdie at the short 15th.

Marc Leishman and Kyle Stanley were tied for fifth on nine under, one shot ahead of Spain’s Jon Rahm and American Rickie Fowler, who made five birdies and no bogeys.