Kitayama holds onto Arnold Palmer Invitational lead as Scheffler, Hovland breathe down his neck

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Kurt Kitayama recovered from a double-bogey to remain the outright leader after three rounds of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but a star-studded chasing pack is well within reach.

Kitayama led by two strokes coming into his third trip around Bay Hill, but he did well to salvage an even-par 72 to stay at nine under after four birdies on the back-nine.

His lead was trimmed to one, with world number two and defending champion Scottie Scheffler joined by Viktor Hovland in a tie for second at eight under.

Hovland was one of three competitors to shoot the round of the day, with a bogey-free 66, while Scheffler had a four-under day with seven birdies and three bogeys.

Alone in fourth at seven under is Tyrell Hatton, who matched Hovland's bogey-free 66 after rounds of 71 and 72, while world number three Rory McIlroy is joined by Harris English at six under in a tie for fifth.

Close friends Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth will likely be paired together for the final round after joining Pierceson Coody – the day's third 66 – in a tie for seventh at five under.

Max Homa and Cameron Young are still in the hunt at four under, while top-10 talents Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele headline the logjam at three under.