• Byron Nelson Championship, Round Three

Dufner takes narrow lead in Texas

ESPN staff
May 19, 2012
Jason Day was left to rue a bogey at the last © PA Photos


Jason Dufner holds a slender one-shot lead going into the final round of the Byron Nelson Championship after a one-under 69 on Saturday.

Dufner, who is looking for a second win in three weeks after claiming his first PGA Tour title at the Zurich Classic at the end of April, kept his cool to stay at the top of the leaderboard while those around him faltered.

A bogey at the third could have seen Dufner reaching for the panic button but, after winning a maiden title, a new-found steel enabled him to get stronger as the round progressed. Two birdies were sandwiched by a host of pars, thereafter, as Dufner moved to eight-under, one ahead of the trio of JJ Henry, Jason Day and Dicky Pride.

Henry fired a 67, with Day ruing a missed putt at the last as he signed for the same score. Pride only found 56 per cent of greens in regulation but his putting was solid enough to make up for some ordinary iron play.

Matt Kuchar, who won The Players Championship at Sawgrass last week, fell away having been one shot behind Dufner overnight. A double-bogey six at 14 saw the wheels come off his round and he never recovered, eventually signing for a 72 to fall to four-under. Chad Campbell also had a day to forget, carding a 73 to leave him with a mountain to climb from three-under.

Vijay Singh rolled back the years with a four-under 66 to put himself into contention with a round to go. The former world No. 1 and three-time major winner mixed five birdies and an eagle with three bogeys and, if he can iron out the errors, he has a chance to spring a surprise from six-under-par.

Fellow veteran Ernie Els, who began the day on one-under, finished as he started Saturday's round after a level-par 70. The South African had to be patient, reeling off seven pars on the spin before recording his first birdie at the par-four eighth. Errors crept into his play as the round wore on but he drained another birdie before the close to remain on one-under for the week.

Padraig Harrington has an outside chance of picking up the winner's cheque after a 70 left him five shots behind the leader. The Irishman required 29 swings of the short stick, although less than laser-like driving left him with much to do on the greens. If he can improve from the tee and ambush the pin with more of his approaches then he has the short game to trouble those ahead of him.

Phil Mickelson is a shot further back after a one-under 69. The American was one-over at the turn but back-to-back birdies gave him some momentum coming in. Unfortunately, it did not last as he dropped a shot at 14 but he quickly made amends, birdying the last to end on a positive note.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.