Ian Poulter overcame wind and broke away to a two-stroke solo lead in the third round of the Dunlop Phoenix tournament yesterday as defending champion Padraig Harrington slipped back.
Poulter three-putted on the eighth hole in between four birdies and holed out with a three-under 67, the round's best score tied by fellow Englishman Luke Donald.
Poulter, shooting for his first win of the season in this US$1.7 million event, stood with 200 on aggregate, two strokes clear of Donald. Japan's Daisuke Maruyama and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano trailed two shots further back.
Harrington, who beat world No. 1 Tiger Woods in a nail-biting play-off here last year, failed to maintain a joint overnight lead with Poulter by firing an erratic 73 to lie six shots off the pace.
Harrington had five bogeys and just two birdies, and it became tougher for the 36-year-old Irishman to chalk his third win of the season after the British Open and Irish Open.
"Today's round was so tough, because of the wind. I just couldn't judge it properly or choose the right club," Harrington said.