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‘Disappointed’ Seamus Power off his greens in Hawaii as Jon Rahm and Cameron Smith break clear in birdie-fest

Seamus Power got stuck in neutral on moving day and knows he now needs to putt the lights out in the final round to clinch a top finish in the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

ied for eighth overnight, seven shots behind leader Cameron Smith, the West Waterford man didn’t find his putting touch until late on another low scoring day on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

While he carded four-under 69, the field averaged a tournament record 67.7 and he fell back to tied 19th on 14-under par, 12 strokes behind Smith (64) and world No. 1 Jon Rahm (61), who shared 20 birdies and an eagle in a sensational duel.

“I didn’t really make any mistakes, but I just never got it going and looking at the scores today, you really needed to,” said Power, whose longest putt of the day was a 10 footer for par at the 17th.

“It was a bit disappointing, but I didn’t make any bogeys which was nice. I hit a lot of good shots, but I wasn’t able to get it going on the greens.

“And obviously, when the scoring is this low, you’ve got to make the 15 footers, and I wasn’t able to do that today.”

Power had to wait until the fifth to make his first birdie of the day, but after two-putting from 22 feet there, he missed birdie chances between six and 15 feet at the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th before picking up three shots in his last five holes.

He pitched close to set up tap-in birdies at the 14th and 15th, saved par from 10 feet at the 17th before knocking in a seven-footer for his fourth birdie of the day at the par-five 18th.

“If I hit it like I did today and knock some putts, you can shoot something in the low 60s and turn it into a good week,” Power said of his plans for Sunday.

“But I’m going to be a long ways back, so it’s just a case of going as low as you can and seeing what happens.”

There was no placing for the first time all week, but with little wind to trouble the players and course still receptive, no fewer than 12 players in the 39-strong field shot seven-under or better.

Two-time Sentry Tournament of Champions winner Justin Thomas set the tone early on when he carded a course record, 12-under par 61 to get to 17-under par.

But he finished the day a distant nine shots behind co-leaders Smith and Rahm, who put on an exhibition in the afternoon to lead Daniel Berger (66) by five strokes on 26-under par.

Three clear overnight, Smith made nine birdies in a bogey-free 64 but was still caught by a relentless Rahm, who played his last 14 holes in 12-under to match Thomas’ 61.

“Yeah, it was really good fun out there today,” Smith said. “Obviously playing nice golf helps. But watching Jon was pretty intense there on that back nine, some of the best golf I think I’ve ever seen, definitely some of the best putting… You can see why he’s number one.”

Totally comfortable on a course that reminds him of where he grew up, Smith is still confident he can get the win, adding: “There’s such a low score out there you never know what can happen. I mean, it’s very gettable; there’s so many wedges, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another 61 or 62 out there tomorrow. But, yeah, just need to keep playing good golf.”

Rahm, who made 132-feet of putts, followed a birdie at the second with a bogey at the fourth, where he drove into the trees.

But the Basque star birdied six of his next seven holes, then birdied the 14th and eagled the 15th before finishing with three birdies in a row.

“We had a fun battle today and I’m guessing tomorrow’s going to be more of the same”, Rahm said after making 12 single putts in a 24-putt round.

He added: “We’re going to need a lot of birdies to get ahead and get the win.”

While Berger is five behind, Australia’s Matt Jones shot 62, South Korea’s Sungjae Im a 65 and FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay a 66 to share fourth place on 20-under, six shots off the pace.

Power will tee it for the third day in a row with Korea’s Si Woo Kim at 7:10 pm Irish time with leaders Smith and Rahm off at 8:55 pm.

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