World number one Jon Rahm (8/15 Fav – Outright Winner) says he will need “a lot of birdies” if he is going to win the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Sunday after moving into a share of the lead.

Rahm was three strokes off the lead at the midway stage of the tournament but he produced a scintillating performance on Saturday to climb into a share of the lead alongside Australian Cameron Smith, who has been at the summit since day one.

The 27-year-old Spanish star, who broke his major duck at the US Open last year, recorded 11 birdies, one eagle and just the solitary bogey to sign for a 12-under-par 61 – his personal best score on the PGA Tour that also matched the course record at the Plantation Course.

It was a ding-dong battle between Rahm and Smith, who made nine birdies himself in a blemish-free round to move onto -26 and just five shots off Ernie Els’ tournament record score of -31 from back in 2003.

Smith (6/4) and Rahm are five strokes clear of American Daniel Berger (40/1), while US ace Patrick Cantlay (66/1), South Korean Sungjae Im (100/1) and Australian Matt Jones (200/1) are a further shot back on -20.

It promises to be another day of low scores on Sunday, as there is no threat of the wind picking up in Hawaii, and Rahm knows he will have to put the hammer down to ensure he lifts the trophy.

“We had a fun battle today and I’m guessing tomorrow’s going to be more of the same,” he said, as quoted by the Bellingham Herald. “We’re going to need a lot of birdies to get ahead and get the win.”

Speaking about Rahm’s third-round performance and heading into the final day, Smith added: “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.

“So yeah, one more day. Hopefully we can do much of the same tomorrow and we’ll see what happens.”

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