Keegan Bradley, trying to win the Byron Nelson Championship for the second time in three years, fired a two-under-par 68 on Saturday and clung to a one-stroke lead over South Korea’s Bae Sang-moon.
In windy conditions at the par-70 TPC Four Seasons Resort course, Bradley closed with a bogey for the third round in a row, but the American still stood atop the leaderboard on a 13-under 197, with Bae on 198 after a third 66 in a row.
Bradley won his first USPGA title at the 2011 Byron Nelson and went on to win the 2011 PGA Championship in his first major appearance.
Bradley could become first wire-to-wire winner at the Byron Nelson since 1980, when Tom Watson won the event for a record fourth time by capturing his third Byron Nelson title in a row. Mark Hayes also did it in 1976.
The US’ Tom Gillis was third on 199 after concluding his round of 67 with a 45-foot birdie chip-in from a greenside bunker, with compatriot Scott Piercy fourth on 200 after a 66 that featured several long birdie putts.
South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, was in a group sharing fifth on 202 that included the US’ Harris English, John Huh and Gary Woodland. Australian Nathan Green was alone in ninth on 203.
WORLD MATCH PLAY
Reuters, KAVARNA, Bulgaria
Britain’s Graeme McDowell and South African Branden Grace set up a mouth-watering showdown in the semi-finals of the World Match Play Championship by winning on Saturday.
World No. 8 McDowell, the highest-ranked player in the field, avenged his defeat in last year’s final by easing past holder Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium two and one.
Colsaerts was already trailing when his drive at the 10th finished in a public toilet. After taking a penalty drop he spared his own blushes by pitching the ball onto the green and holing out from 15 feet for a par four.
“I was laughing because I was going to look like a clown,” he said. “I’m sure it’s going to make the news — some Belgian dude finding a toilet.”
Earlier in the day the Northern Irishman put out the US’ Bo Van Pelt by one hole.
Grace, who won four times on the European Tour last season, also scored a two and one win over Briton Chris Wood.
Earlier, Grace defeated Brett Rumford four and three to end the Australian’s dream of becoming the third man in tour history — and first since 1986 — to win three back-to-back events.
Yesterday’s other semi-final was scheduled to be between South African Thomas Aiken and Thai veteran Thongchai Jaidee.
Aiken followed his quarter-final win over Ireland’s Shane Lowry at the 19th hole by putting out Italian Francesco Molinari three and two.
Thongchai, 43, who put out Ryder Cup teammates Ian Poulter and Peter Hanson earlier in the competition, advanced with a four and three win over Briton Scott Jamieson.
MADEIRA ISLANDS OPEN
AP, SANTO ANTONIO DA SERRA, Portugal
Mark Tullo of Chile shot a four-under 68 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead after the third round of the Madeira Islands Open.
Tullo birdied four of his last eight holes on the Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra course for a 12-under total of 204. Overnight leader Craig Lee of Scotland and the US’ Peter Uihlein were tied for second, while Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden and Morten Oerum Madsen of Denmark were another three shots back.