FORT WORTH, Texas — While Justin Rose felt good about his four-stroke lead after three rounds at Colonial, he wasn’t yet counting down the holes left in the Fort Worth Invitational.
“I think I’ve won and lost actually from four ahead, so I’ve got experience both ways,” Rose said after shooting a 4-under 66 on Saturday to get to 14 under. “Just shows you can’t get ahead of yourself.”
Rose also remembers how he won his PGA Tour season debut, a surprise in Shanghai in October after he began the final round of the HSBC Champions eight shots behind Dustin Johnson, then the No. 1 player in the world.
“I’ve got experience the other way,” Rose said. “So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. ... Great position going into tomorrow, yeah. Look forward to putting it away, but I kind of know there are going to be challenges out there.”
Fifth-ranked Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion and Olympic gold medalist with eight PGA Tour victories, led by four over playing partner Emiliano Grillo and defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka. Grillo shot 69 while Koepka had a 67.
On a steamy day in North Texas — with temperatures in the upper 90s and it feeling even warmer — Rose birdied the first three holes to quickly extend his lead from one to four over Grillo, who had eight pars in a row before consecutive birdies at Nos. 9 and 10.
“You can’t drink enough (water) out there,” Rose said. “Yeah, it was a factor today. I struggled a little bit on the back nine with my focus. ... I was really trying to put one foot in front of the other and stay committed.”
The closest Grillo got after the opening stretch was three strokes, when he was 11 under with an 8-foot birdie at No. 10. Rose regained his four-stroke edge with a birdie at the 616-yard 11th hole.
“Well, he’s top 10 in the world, so everything he does, he does it pretty well,” Grillo said. “When he missed the driver, he was able to get it on the green somehow.”
Rose’s only bogey was at the 173-yard 16th, when the tee shot settled on the back fringe and he then missed a 5-foot par chance.
Koepka had three birdies his last seven holes after a double bogey at the 11th, the only blemish on his card. His second shot went out of bounds, and his approach went into a greenside bunker after having to take a drop in the rough.
“Just kind of one of those freak things,” Koepka said. “The driver head comes loose off the tee. Felt like the club just wiggled in my hand and we’re in a divot. It’s still a bad swing regardless from the middle of the fairway.”
Canadian rookie Corey Conners had eight birdies over his last 12 holes for a career-best round of 63 that matched Ted Potter Jr. for the best of the day.
At Benton Harbor, Mich., Scott McCarron, seeking a second senior major title to go with his 2017 Senior Players Championship, made his only bogey of the third round on the final hole to slip into a tie for the lead with Tim Petrovic in the Senior PGA Championship.
They were at 13 under par after Petrovic, seeking his first major, shot 65. McCarron has shared the lead through three rounds.
England’s Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 British Senior Open winner, matched the best third-round score in tournament history with a 64. He was at 11 under.
At Virginia Water, England, Francesco Molinari mastered the toughest conditions of the week at Wentworth to shoot a 6-under 66 and share the lead with Rory McIlroy after three rounds of the BMW PGA Championship.
Scoring was more difficult because of gusty winds and fast, firm greens at the West Course but Molinari managed a bogey-free round featuring six birdies starting from the eighth hole.
It was the lowest score of the day as the Italian took five shots off McIlroy, who started the round with a three-stroke lead and needed birdies at the par fives at Nos. 17 and 18 for a 1-under 71 to keep at least a share of first place on 13-under 203.
At Ann Arbor, Mich., Minjee Lee shot a 4-under 68 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the LPGA Volvik Championship, with Stacy Lewis tied for second playing five months’ pregnant.
Lee capped a bogey-free third round with a birdie on No. 18 to get to 12 under, and the Australian standout will try to celebrate her birthday with her first victory of the year. She turns 22 today.