Valero Texas Open: Rory McIlroy falls to 10 shots off lead as Akshay Bhatia remains on top ahead of final round | Golf News

Rory McIlroy fell to 10 shots off the lead at the Valero Texas Open after a third-round 72, with leader Akshay Bhatia maintaining his place at the top by four shots.

Bhatia shot 68 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard with a four-shot lead in his bid for a wire-to-wire win in San Antonio.

Bhatia sits at 15-under par for the tournament, four shots ahead of Denny McCarthy, who shot 67. Bhatia had a five-stroke lead after 36 holes, but his four-stroke lead after 54 holes matches the biggest so far this season on tour. It is also the biggest at the Valero Open since Jimmy Walker in 2015.

Bhatia is gunning to become the first wire-to-wire winner since Lee Hodges at the 2023 3M Open. He would be the first wire-to-wire at the Valero Open since Bob Estes in 1994.

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Watch Jordan Spieth hit a ball onto the roof at the Valero Texas Open, as the American had a hole to forget!

He carded six birdies against two bogeys for his round, looking calm but admitting he was not.

“I was never calm today and it was the hardest thing to deal with. It’s just so hard, you feel so tense and all these things in your stomach, your mind can kind of go one way,” Bhatia said. “I kept to my game plan. I tried to talk as much as I could to my caddie.”

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Akshay Bhatia is seeking to become the first wire-to-wire winner at the Texas Open since 1994

Brendon Todd (70 on Saturday) sits solo in third at eight under. Hideki Matsuyama made a giant leap up the leaderboard with a six-under 66, but he is eight shots off the pace in a tie for fourth.

McCarthy nearly posted a clean round, carding six birdies against one bogey. He is still seeking his first win on the PGA Tour.

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Ludvig Aberg’s driver clubhead flew off during his tee shot at the Valero Texas Open, but he still managed to reach the green

Bhatia, 22, is on the verge of qualifying for his first major. The Texas Open champion will receive the final berth into next week’s Masters, if not already qualified.

“I was talking to my psychologist last night and even this morning, just all the stories that what could happen, what if I lose the lead, what if this lead goes to 10. So many things are in your mind,” Bhatia said.

Watch the fourth round of the Valero Texas Open, live on Sky Sports Golf from 6pm, Sunday. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, majors and more with NOW

When is The Masters on Sky Sports?

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The Masters is upon us and you can watch all the tremendous action and intense drama from Augusta live on Sky Sports, from Thursday April 11 – Sunday April 14

The Masters is upon us and you can watch all the tremendous action and intense drama from Augusta live on Sky Sports, from Thursday April 11 to Sunday April 14

Wall-to-wall coverage from the tournament begins at 2pm over the first two rounds on Thursday April 11 and Friday April 12, with Featured Group action and regular updates from around the course available to enjoy on Sky Sports Golf until the global broadcast window begins at 8pm.

There will be lots of extra action throughout all four days via the red button on Sky Sports Golf, along with Sky Q and Sky Glass, providing plenty of bonus feeds and allowing you to follow players’ progress through various parts of Augusta’s famous layout.

The notorious Amen Corner stream will also be available and focuses on the famous three-hole stretch from the 11th, while a feed of the fourth, fifth and sixth holes will go live each day as soon as the opening group reach that part of the course.

Another stream covering the 15th and 16th hole is also available for every round, while extended coverage of the weekend action begins at both 3pm on both Saturday April 13 and Sunday April 14.

Sky Sports Golf will show build-up content and occasional live updates from the course before the global broadcast window starts at 8pm for the third round and 7pm for the final day, with early action available throughout via the red button.

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