MIAMI, Florida (Reuters) - American J.B. Holmes had a five-stroke lead at the end of the third round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Saturday as he and compatriot Dustin Johnson both made holes-in-one on the par-three fourth hole.
After Holmes aced the 227-yard hole, Johnson, playing two groups behind, followed suit 15 minutes later to the delight of the crowd at Trump-Doral.
The green at the fourth hole on the Blue Monster course is surrounded by water to the front and right but that appeared to only focus the two Americans, who both found the hole with seven irons.
Holmes is in control, however, after shooting 70 to move to 11-under for the tournament, a bogey on the 18th coming after the 32-year-old birdied the previous four holes.
“When you’re atop the leaderboard and you can get a hole in one, that’s awesome,” said Holmes, who was delighted with his late flurry of birdies.
“You want to make some birdies, but I definitely wasn’t planning on making four. I was just trying to get one or just come in and make some pars because I did have the lead.”
Johnson also bogeyed the par-four 18th hole as he made 69 to keep within reach of Holmes while Bubba Watson, the two-times Masters winner, was tied with Johnson, five strokes behind Holmes after shooting a 70.
World number one Rory McIlroy was 10 shots back after his even-par round of 72 featured four bogeys.
Saturday’s best round came from American Bill Haas who shot a seven-under 65.
Ryan Moore briefly had a share of the lead before Holmes’ late birdie run. Moore had an eagle on the par-four 16th, where he drove the green with a 293-yard tee shot and recovered from his triple-bogey on the third to make 74 and sit six shots back of Holmes.
South Africa’s Louis Ooosthuizen (67) and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson (72) kept themselves in the chase, heading into Sunday’s fourth round, seven shots back.
Britain’s Lee Westwood, Spain’s Sergio Garcia, Australian Adam Scott and American Webb Simpson were all tied in eighth place, eight strokes behind Holmes.
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Gene Cherry