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Jason Dufner carries 1-stroke lead into final round of Nelson
IRVING, Texas — Nine players had or shared the lead during the third round of the Byron Nelson Championship.
Yet when play ended Saturday, Jason Dufner was the one alone at the top of the leaderboard for the second day in a row.
“Similar conditions as (Friday), so probably helped me a little bit, just being comfortable with the wind and how hard it was blowing,” Dufner said. “Good ball striking, hit a lot of greens. … Didn’t feel like I was scrambling too much, trying to save pars or out of position, anything like that.”
Three weeks after getting his first PGA Tour victory at New Orleans, and two weeks after getting married, Dufner is already trying to win again.
Dufner is comfortable in his position with the experience of having won recently, and the forecast for more wind Sunday, though it is not expected to be as stiff as the 20 mph with gusts the last two days.
Matt Kuchar, who won The Players Championship last weekend, was in a group of eight players four shots back after a 72 with an up-and-down back nine.
Dufner’s only bogey came at the 528-yard par-4 third hole, when he knew right away that his drive wasn’t a good one. He immediately dropped his club to watch as the ball flew into a bunker on the left side of the fairway, opposite the water on the right where he hit his tee shot the previous day.
“A little bit of carryover from (Friday), not trying to let those things happen, but occasionally they creep in your mind,” he said. “That bunker is almost as bad as being in the water, so (Sunday) maybe I’ll think of that and play more aggressive and try to hit the shot a little better.”
Dufner, who birdied four of his last five holes Friday, got the lost stroke back Saturday with a 10-foot birdie putt at No. 6. He had pars the rest of the way except for the 14-foot birdie at the par-4 14th.
Day’s only bogey came when he missed a putt of less than 2 feet at No. 18. The ball rimmed around the cup and rolled back toward him, costing him a share of the lead with a round of 67.
“I just hit it too hard through the break,” said Day, the 2010 Nelson champ who finished fifth last year in his only other appearance on the TPC at Four Seasons courses. “One day that hole will pay me back, and hopefully it’s (Sunday).”
There were 20 players within five strokes of the lead. And 10th-ranked Phil Mickelson was among of group of seven more players only one more back.
Henry had three birdies on the back nine after two bogeys on the easier front nine in a round of 67. Pride, who has been playing professionally for 20 years, got his only PGA Tour victory in 1994.
By John R. Bolton
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