Pieters, Zach Johnson share lead at Bridgestone Invitational

Pieters, Zach Johnson share lead at Bridgestone Invitational

Matsuyama now holds a two-shot lead over two-time major victor Zach Johnson (through 13 holes), with American Charley Hoffman a shot back in third at 10-under (15 holes).

Lexi Thompson, who started the third round just two shots behind, stumbled to a 74 and wound up 10 shots back.

Australian Scott Hend is in sole possession of third on -8 after a magnificent seven-under-par 63 while Japan's Hideki Matsuyama is a further stroke back.

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Johnson had a somewhat inconsistent day with three bogeys, but the good outweighed the bad, as he also carded eight birdies.

Rory McIlroy, Adam Hadwin and Charley Hoffman are three back at six-under 204.

Thomas Pieters of Belgium missed a 6-foot birdie chance on the 18th hole and shot 70.

Day had charged up the leaderboard with four birdies in his first five holes and five birdies on the front nine.

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He rebounded with a birdie at 10, but errant tee shots led to bogeys at 13 and 14 and a birdie at 16 was followed by another bogey at 17.

"Anywhere I have a chance to win I'll definitely take it", said Pieters, who has won three times on the European Tour.

"I'm taking a little bit more responsibility on myself and there were a couple of times where I probably should have hit another club, but that's on me, not anyone else. Hopefully we can straighten out the driver".

Pieters started the final round tied for the lead, but putting woes forced a 1-over 71 Sunday.

"First eight holes I was in the fairway, hit good shots, made putts", Pieters said. "I reside here my kids go to school here and it would be a lot less travel for me - I love playing golf here". "You give yourself ample opportunities, occasionally they're going to fall".

"I think it's been a good week, obviously wanting to play well this week but with one eye on next week", McIlroy told Sky Sports. "My shots are going pretty straight, too", the 25-year-old said. "I'm just happy to be where I am right now and we'll take stock tomorrow when we return to the golf course, or when we finish play today and approach it the way we do any other tournament".

McIlroy's victory at Firestone in 2014 was sandwiched between major titles in the Open Championship and US PGA, but the 28-year-old has failed to win a major since and split from his long-term caddie JP Fitzgerald after finishing fourth at Royal Birkdale last month.