Swede Henrik Stenson produced a birdie blitz for the second day in a row to take a two-shot lead after the third round of the Scottish Open at Inverness on Saturday.
The former Ryder Cup player, a seven-time winner on the European Tour, followed up his eight-under 64 on Friday with another low-scoring display as a 66 gave him a 16-under aggregate of 200.
American Phil Mickelson, the highest-ranked player in the event, was in a group of four players sharing second place.
The world No. 8 was slow to get going on Saturday, but six birdies in the last 11 holes secured a 66 and put him alongside South African Branden Grace (66), Dane Joachim Hansen (69) and Briton John Parry (66) on 202.
The 43-year-old has tended to struggle on European links courses and a win would provide a huge confidence boost ahead of the start of this week’s British Open at Muirfield.
“It would be a great step in the right direction in my desire to try to capture a first British Open,” he said.
Britain’s Gareth Maybin stormed up the leaderboard with the best round of the day.
His eight-under 64 included an eagle at the par-five sixth hole, eight birdies and two bogeys.
Maybin, Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin (65) and American Peter Uihlein (70) are on 203.
Overnight leader Chris Doak of Scotland struggled to a 73 for 205.
JOHN DEERE CLASSIC
The US’ Daniel Summerhays fired a nine-under-par 62 to grab a two-stroke lead over Canadian David Hearn heading into yesterday’s final round of the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.
Defending champion Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters winner and overnight co-leader, was lurking just off the pace another shot back at 16-under-par 197 after posting 67 at TPC Deere Run in the third round on Saturday.
Summerhays, looking for his first PGA Tour win, had 10 birdies against a lone bogey in ideal scoring conditions, using a string of three in a row from the 15th hole to vault to the top of the leaderboard.
Hearn, also seeking his maiden tour victory, posted eight birdies and one bogey in his 64, running off three successive birdies over the same stretch of holes from 15.
Tied for fourth on 198 were Americans J.J. Henry (65) and Jerry Kelly (66).
Australian Matt Jones and Americans Nicholas Thompson and Chris Kirk were another shot back. Two-time US Junior Amateur champion Jordan Spieth, 19, was among three players on 200, six shots off the pace after three rounds.
Johnson sank not one but two massive putts on Saturday, a 60-foot eagle putt on the par-five second hole then a 42-foot birdie putt on the par-four 14th, to surge into contention.
Additional reporting by staff writer