Thomas leads by three from McIlroy and Poulter at Firestone

Justin Thomas won the PGA Championship in 2017 and he is looking primed to make a run again next week with the way he is playing in Ohio.

Justin Thomas   -  Getty Images

Justin Thomas put himself in prime position to clinch the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after opening up a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter following round three.

The world number three, who next week will defend the US PGA Championship at Bellerive Golf Course, carded a three-under-par 67 to move to 14 under for the tournament.

He will play the final 18 holes in the company of McIlroy, who matched Thomas' score for the day to remain well in the hunt.

READ: Thomas and Poulter share lead as Tiger fades at Bridgestone

Poulter – who was joint leader before Saturday's play with Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood – had a more mixed day, but a level-par round left him in a tie for second.

Fleetwood endured a poor round of 74 to fall seven shots off the pace, while Jason Day is four shots back and Mark Leishman and Kyle Stanley five.

Rickie Fowler carded the lowest round of the day, a five-under 65, to sit alongside Jon Rahm at eight-under in a star-studded leaderboard.

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Thomas was one under at the turn after mixing three birdies with two bogeys before accelerating his round with three gains in five holes between the 10th and 14th. His day would have been even better had he not bogeyed the par-three 15th.

McIlroy enjoyed a blemish-free round, and he now has a streak of 11 rounds in the 60s at Firestone – no other player has a run better than nine.

It was a day to forget for eight-time winner Tiger Woods, though. The American great toiled to a three-over 73 and is 11 shots back from leader Thomas.