David Toms frittered away a commanding seven-stroke lead to trail South Korean Charlie Wi by one shot after Saturday’s third round at the Colonial Invitational.
On a blustery day at Colonial Country Club, American Toms struggled with his putting on the way to an ugly four-over-par 74 in his bid to end a PGA Tour title drought of five years.
Having opened with bogey-free 62s in his first two rounds here to spreadeagle the field, Toms dropped three shots in his first six holes before finishing at 12-under 198.
Playing partner Wi, who has yet to win on the US circuit, fired an ice-cool 66 that included five birdies and a lone bogey to hold the outright lead at 13 under.
“Starting the day, I was hoping that maybe I might be three to four shots near David,” Wi, 39, told reporters after becoming the 54-hole leader for the first time on the PGA Tour. “But to be one in front of him, I’m very pleasantly surprised. I played really well today and David didn’t.”
“I know that tomorrow he is going to be geared up to play, so it will come down to the end,” said California-based Wi, who has won nine professional titles worldwide. “Hopefully I’m the one finishing on top.”
John Senden (70) was alone in third at nine under, a stroke in front of fellow Australian Stuart Appleby (67) and Americans Paul Goydos (67) and Mark Wilson (71).
Toms, seven ahead of the chasing pack over night, made a promising start to the third round when he birdied the par-five first.
However, his day began to unravel as he bogeyed the second, third and sixth to reach the turn at 14 under with his advantage cut to three.
“I’m a couple over par after six holes and feel like I’m not playing really bad and the rest of the day it was just kind of a struggle,” said Toms, a 12-times winner on the PGA Tour whose most recent victory came at the 2006 Sony Open.