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Zach Johnson, Pieters share third-round lead at WGC-Bridgestone

A star-studded leaderboard at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is headed by Thomas Pieters and Zach Johnson, with Rory McIlroy three back.

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Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson and Thomas Pieters lead the way heading into the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, following respective rounds of 65 and 66 at Firestone on Saturday.

Two-time major-winner Johnson briefly claimed sole possession of first place at nine under when he made a 12-footer on the 18th for his eighth birdie of the day.

Yet Pieters, who was ahead for most of the third day after picking up shots at his first three holes, also finished in style. Three bogeys in the space of five holes on the back nine knocked the big-hitting Belgian back, but he found the target with a 32-foot birdie try at the last.

Australian Scott Hend is one behind the leading pair, having surged into contention with a seven-under 63 - the low round of the day.

Hideki Matsuyama (67) sits two back, while Rory McIlroy (68) is three off the pace alongside Charley Hoffman (67) and Adam Hadwin (67).

However, Jordan Spieth slipped off the pace, shooting 71 to drop to two under. Spieth birdied his first two holes on Saturday, but bogeyed the next two and then came back in one over par.

It was an even worse day for Jimmy Walker, who led by two overnight but shot 74 to slip six shots off the pace in the week before his US PGA Championship defence at Quail Hollow.

Still searching his first win of the season, McIlroy drove the ball superbly and will fancy his chances if he can get his putter firing on the final day.

Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka and Jason Day are all within shouting distance at three under, but it would take a special effort for them to usurp the leaders on Sunday.

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