Nevada native Scott Piercy struck eight consecutive birdies in a course record 11-under-par 61 to grab a two shot lead at the Reno-Tahoe Open after the third round on Saturday.
Piercy, 32, who is looking for his first win on the USPGA Tour, opened his round with a par, but then began his birdie barrage to go out in 28 and match the longest birdie streak and lowest nine hole score on Tour this year.
More birdies came on the par four 14th and 15th holes with an eagle three, courtesy of a 270-yard four iron approach to seven feet, on the last capping a fantastic day and leaving him on 203, 13-under for the tournament.
American Josh Teater was in second after a third round 66, with Australians Nick O’Hern and former USPGA champion Steve Elkington among a group of six players a further shot back.
“It was fun to see the ball go in the hole,” Piercy told reporters after his career-best round. “First two days was kind of a little frustrating because I hit it well and didn’t see a whole lot go in.”
“I told my caddie yesterday, I said, if I can keep hitting it well and get a few balls to go in the hole, we might do something special. I didn’t think this, but I’ll take it when I can get it,” Piercy said.
Compatriot Teater produced eight birdies in his round at the Montreux Golf and Country Club and was confident of more in the final round when he will also be chasing his first USPGA Tour win.
“Everybody out here can shoot six-under, seven-under, eight-under at any point,” Teater said. “It’s going to be a shootout [on the final day] and we’re all going to try to birdie every hole.”
Twice champion and second-round leader Vaughn Taylor shot a level-par 72 to fall back into a tie for ninth place, four strokes off the pace.