But four straight bogeys from the 13th hole cruelled Leishman's hopes at a maiden WGC title, carding a 73 to tie for 14th at six under.
Rory McIlroy, fresh off a runner-up finish at the British Open and BMW PGA Championships, started Sunday three back in the final group with Thomas and said Saturday he's getting exhausted of second-place finishes. At the 11th, his drive went well left into thick woods.
"I take a lot of pride in how I played today", Thomas told reporters.
"I got a little choked up when I saw grandma and grandpa over there", Thomas said.
Major Champion Jason Day was another shot back on ten under after his third-round 69, which included a chip-in birdie at the short 15th.
Roared on by the large galleries in her home country, the 22-year-old Hall only took the lead for the first time after a 20-foot putt for birdie at the 16th hole and stayed steady to post 5-under 67. That allowed him to regain the lead over Anthony Quayle, who had made eagle on the same hole moments earlier and closed with a 63. "I was very nervous going in. You kind of get that two, three, four shot lead, it's, I don't know, it's different than one". "I think I got away with one bad tee shot where it bounced out of the trees, but apart from that played lovely, putted really nice and just picked them off". What made this one special was not only the time that had gone by since his last win, but who was waiting for him behind the 18th green. "This is my first PGA Tour win with them here, so it's pretty cool", the 25-year-old said after joining Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson as three-times winners on the tour this year. I hit great putts that just were burning the edges.
His grandfather, Paul, played in the 1960 Championship at Firestone. "I felt like it was really solid and gives me a lot of confidence going into next week". "I've never gotten like that on the golf course before".
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Johnson bogeyed the last hole for a 64 and shared third with Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark, who also had a 64.
Rounding out the Australian contingent at Firestone was Adam Scott, who birdied the final hole but a 74 left the 2011 victor at four over.
CBS Sports will be with you the entire way Saturday updating this story with the latest scores, analysis and highlights throughout Round 3 of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, particularly while Woods is on the course.
McIlroy won at Bay Hill in March and has three runner-up finishes, and he had said Saturday afternoon he was exhausted of finishing second.
"I just got a huge knot in my throat and I just had to put my head down", he said after closing with a 1-under 69 for his first World Golf Championship title. He can't say that anymore.