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Then on the ninth after another wayward drive, Knost punched it to 10 feet and made the birdie to stay one behind Pettersson.

Things swung Pettersson’s way once more on the 10th, his lead growing to three shots after he made birdie and Knost was short on his approach and missed an 8-foot attempt at par.

Still, Knost kept grinding. A birdie on the 13th hole drew Knost with a stroke and the pair was tied at the top at 11 under when Pettersson took bogey on the par-5 15th hole.

The two matched pars until the windswept 18th when Pettersson struck a stunning approach that slid by the cup and settled 8 feet past. He rolled in the putt with a smile on his face.

“I managed to birdie the 18th, which was nice,” Pettersson said.

Johnson put together his second straight sub-70 round to move into third. He has largely struggled at Harbour Town, his best showing a tie for sixth the week after he slipped on the green jacket five years ago. Johnson’s round took flight with an eagle on No. 5. He closed with birdies on the 16th and 18th as he looks for his first victory since the Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial in 2010.

“We’ve still got 18 holes,” Johnson said. “The last four or five holes, if I’m near the lead, we can get after it a little bit.”

Donald, starting almost five hours before the leaders, never got things going. Without an absolute miracle he will fall from No. 1 after he finishes Sunday, surrendering the top spot to McIlroy, who is off spending time with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki as she competes in Denmark, according to the tennis star’s tweets. Donald took the top spot from McIlroy last month.

Whose got the edge over Harbour Town?

Pettersson, 34, has won four times on tour while Knost, an amateur star who’s struggled at this level, acknowledged his nervousness getting ready. “I don’t know,” Pettersson said. “I’ve only won four times out here, so it’s not like … I’m not Phil or Tiger or anybody.”

Knost planned to spend some time on the range after his round working on his tee shots. “I got a chance going into tomorrow and I’m excited,” he said.