Brian Gay shot a 4-under 67 to increase his lead to three shots over New Zealand’s Tim Wilkinson after three rounds of the Verizon Heritage on Saturday.
Gay moved in front on Friday with five straight birdies. This time, he played steady, mistake-free golf at Harbor Town Golf Links to move to 13-under.
Left-hander Wilkinson shot a 65 and two-time US Open winner Lee Janzen had two late birdies to maintain his place among the leaders, another stroke behind after a 69.
Todd Hamilton, the 2004 British Open champ, was a stroke behind Gay when the round began. However, he fell five shots behind after his even-par 71.
Five-time Verizon Heritage winner Davis Love III (69) was tied with Briny Baird (65) at 7-under.
Gay is a round away from his second career victory after winning the 2008 Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico, when most of the golf world was watching the bigger names at the World Golf Championships Match Play event.
“Who else is playing doesn’t really matter,” Gay said. “I think it will be validation of winning last year. I did it once and I’ll do it again.”
Gay has made one bogey in 54 holes, while driving it straight and true on the course’s narrow, tree-lined fairways.
“Brian Gay is a fine player,” Janzen said. “He doesn’t get in trouble off the tee and he’s a really good putter. I imagine if he continues to play that kind of steady golf, it will take a great round to catch him.”
Janzen hasn’t won on tour since the second of his US Open victories in 1998. He for a 69 that kept him in third.
Entering with a one-shot lead, Gay’s round got going with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 fifth hole. He extended things a hole later, rolling in a testy, sloping 10-footer. Gay’s final birdie came on the par-5 15th with a nifty 20-foot putt.
He had consecutive birdies on the fifth and sixth holes to move to 11 under.
Wilkinson began the day five shots behind, but used four consecutive birdies to close his front nine and jump up the leaderboard.
Wilkinson tied for second in last year’s Valero Texas Open and won more than US$1.1 million in his first tour season.
PGA Tour folk hero Boo Weekley was hoping for his third consecutive win at Harbor Town.
He will need a record-setting final round to make that happen after his 70 dropped him 11 shots behind Gay.