American Jonathan Byrd flew by compatriot Pat Perez with a blistering back nine to seize a one-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round of the Quail Hollow Championship on an emotional day in the wake of the Severiano “Seve” Ballesteros’s death.
Byrd, a local favorite who attended nearby Clemson University, birdied five of six holes after making the turn on his way to a five-under-par 67 for a total of 15-under 201 going into yesterday’s final round when he will aim for his sixth US Tour title.
Overnight leader Perez led by two shots before a bogey at the par-four 12th, where he chipped well past the hole from the back fringe and was overtaken by the Byrd’s surge. Perez posted 70 for 202.
Two strokes further back on 12-under 204 were former Open champion Stewart Cink (68) and former US Open winner Lucas Glover (69). Andres Romero of Argentina (67) and Americans Kevin Na (67) and Bill Haas (71) are four behind the leader.
Byrd had back-to-back birdies from the seventh before making bogey at the ninth. With his red-hot surge after the turn, he had seven birdies during a nine-hole stretch.
“Wow, I did that? I didn’t really realize it was going that good there for a while,” said the 33-year-old Byrd, who won this year’s Tournament of Champions.
Byrd said it took a little while to get accustomed to playing with world No. 4 Phil Mickelson, who shot a 74.
“I was pretty shaky starting off, didn’t feel real comfortable out there,” Byrd said.