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Tyrrell Hatton shares RBC Heritage lead with three others at Hilton Head

Hatton is chasing his second PGA Tour title after winning his first at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March
RBC Heritage, round three leaderboard
-15 T Hatton (Eng), R Palmer (US), W Simpson (US), A Ancer (Mex); -14 D Berger (US) J Dahmen (US), C Ortiz (Mex)
Selected: -13 I Poulter (Eng), M Fitzpatrick (Eng), S Garcia (Spa); -12 B Koepka (US), D Johnson (US), B DeChambeau (US); -11 M Wallace (Eng); -10 R McIlroy (NI), J Rose (Eng)

England’s Tyrrell Hatton hit a bogey-free eight-under 63 in round three to share a one-shot lead with three others at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina.

Hatton is 15 under, alongside Ryan Palmer, Webb Simpson and Abraham Ancer.

Ian Poulter and Matt Fitzpatrick are 13 under, with fellow Englishman Matt Wallace on 11 under, while Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose are 10 under.

McIlroy was playing with Bubba Watson who had to call over a rules official after a crab crawled under his ball.

The unusual incident happened on the par-three 17th hole at the Harbour Town Links course in Hilton Head.

Two-times Master winner Watson hit his tee shot into a bunker and was left pondering how to play his next shot after realising a tiny crustacean had manoeuvred its way under his ball.

With television cameras watching his every move, Watson said to McIlroy: “I don’t want the world to get mad at me, know what I mean?”

McIlroy stuck the top of his putter near the ball to try and distract the crab and said “this one is alive”.

Watson retorted: “Stick a tee down there. It won’t get your finger. And if it does, it will be funnier.”

As a rules official approached, the little crab flipped out from beneath the ball and landed a few inches away. “I think it’s dying because that sand has to be a thousand degrees,” said Watson.

The official asked Watson if he wanted to pick it up. “No,” replied the American. “There was a camera and people get mad if I hit an animal. We don’t need crab issues, know what I’m saying?”

The crab eventually scurried away.

No more positive coronavirus tests

On Saturday, the PGA Tour said 11 people who had been in close contact with Nick Watney were tested for coronavirus and all were negative.

On Friday, American Watney was the first player to test positive for coronavirus at either of the first two events since the PGA Tour resumed after a three-month hiatus because of the global pandemic.

World number one McIlroy, who had seen Watney on the practice putting green said he had not had another Covid-19 test but would continue to take the necessary precautions.

“I didn’t feel like I was in close enough proximity. I saw him on the putting green, we kept our distance,” said the Northern Irishman, who shot a five-under 66 and is five off the lead after a day of low scoring.

Congested leaderboard heading into Sunday

Hatton’s 63 was one of six scored in the third round. He had five birdies in his opening nine holes and added three more in the final five holes.

The 28-year-old, who won the PGA Tour’s last completed event, the Arnold Palmer Invitation at Bay Hill in March, said: “I’ve been lucky with where some of my misses ended up and I’ve really putted well, which is a big surprise.”

All three players who are one off the lead on 14 under also shot 63s. Daniel Berger, who won last week’s first event back, had nine birdies and one bogey to match the overall totals of fellow American Joel Dahmen and Carlos Ortiz of Mexico.

Poulter, who led after round one, again had a strong finish to his round, with three birdies in his final four holes as carded a four-under 67 to remain in contention.

Fitzpatrick mixed six birdies with three bogeys to join him in a group of seven, including Spain’s Sergio Garcia, on 13 under.

Big-hitting American trio Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and world number three Brooks Koepka are in the group at 12 under, with 21 players within three shots of the lead.

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