Defending champion Martin Laird carded a bogey-free eight-under-par 63 at the TPC Summerlin to move into a one-shot lead after the third round of the Las Vegas Open on Saturday.
The Briton’s round was highlighted by six birdies and an eagle on the 341-yard par-four 15th, where he drove the green to within six feet of the hole.
“I really left myself the easiest putt on the green; it was right-edge, up-the-hill putt,” Laird told reporters. “That’s the one most of us would want if we had six feet for eagle.”
It was the second consecutive stellar round for Laird, who shot a nine-under 62 on Friday, to stand on 19-under par through three rounds.
Second round leader Jonathan Byrd had a round of five-under par (66) and was one stroke back after the American recorded six birdies and a bogey in his round on Saturday.
Australian Cameron Percy had the low score of the day, a career best nine-under (62) with five birdies through the first nine holes, and eight in total as well as an eagle and a bogey, for a tournament total of 17-under 196.
He was joint-third with the US’ Webb Simpson, who shot a 64.
“I told myself to stay patient and I knew birdies would come and I knew I was playing well enough to make a lot of birdies, and they came,” said Simpson, who was one over through five holes. “I birdied six through nine and then 11 through 13 and then 15 and 16. I don’t know if I’ve ever had ten birdies in a round out here on tour, but it felt good. Hopefully, tomorrow I can kind of eliminate those bogeys.”
Japan’s Ryudi Imada, who started the day one stroke off the lead, followed up his sizzling 62 on Friday with a disappointing 70 and was tied for 11th, six strokes off the lead (200).
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Briton Gary Boyd equaled the Mediterraneo course record of 63 on Saturday to lead the Castello Masters third round by two strokes.
Matteo Manassero, the 17-year-old Italian hoping to become the youngest European Tour winner, shared second place with Sweden’s Christian Nilsson, who produced another miraculous shot to maintain his challenge.
Englishman Boyd, in his rookie year on tour, went eight-under just three hours after his friend and compatriot John Parry had also shot 63 to lie five strokes off the pace.
Boyd, on 14-under 199 for the tournament, was determined to match Parry’s recent win in the tour’s Vivendi Cup.
Manassero holed a 40-foot birdie putt from off the green on the 17th for a 67.
It kept alive his chances of bettering New Zealander Danny Lee’s triumph at last year’s Johnnie Walker Classic, when Lee was 18.
Manassero felt his driving and putting this week had given him a great opportunity.
“You have to hit the ball straight here, that’s the sort of course I like,” Manassero said. “And the greens are pure, you can hole some long putts on them.”
Nilsson finished second in last year’s Castellon event behind his compatriot Michael Jonzon.
The Swede preserved his round of 66 in breathtaking fashion on the last, finding the green despite having to play from the base of a dry-stone wall with an advertising hoarding blocking his route.
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