Burns leads by one after PGA Byron Nelson third round
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Houston (AFP) –
Sam Burns will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Byron Nelson tournament in Texas after shooting a three-under-par 69 on Saturday to remain on course for back-to-back PGA Tour victories.
The 24-year-old from Louisiana - who clinched his first PGA Tour win at the Valspar Championship a fortnight ago -- edged clear of the field with a birdie on the final hole of a roller-coaster third round after rolling a long eagle putt to the edge of the cup.
Burns had dominated the TPC Craig Ranch layout in suburban Dallas with a 10-under-par 62 on Friday, but was forced to battle to stay on top of the leaderboard with a round that included five birdies and two bogeys.
The American was in trouble from the opening hole, missing an 11-foot par putt before responding with a birdie on the third after curling in a 28-foot putt from the fringe.
A deft chip to six inches gave Burns another birdie on the fifth before a bogey on the next hole stalled his progress.
That was the last blemish of the day however, and three more birdies and nine pars ensured he will defend the lead when the final round tees off early on Sunday in order to avoid forecasted storms.
Burns' birdie on the 18th left him just ahead of South Korea's Lee Kyoung-hoon, who had briefly grabbed a share of the lead after his sublime bunker shot from 80 feet left him with a tap-in for a closing birdie.
It capped another flawless round from Lee, whose bogey-free 67 included five birdies and 13 pars. Lee has birdied the 18th on all three of his rounds this week, and so far has only one bogey through 54 holes for a 19-under aggregate 199.
Burns and Lee will be nervously glancing over their shoulders on Sunday however with a cluster of four players lurking just off the pace at 17 under, three adrift of the lead and two behind second place.
That group includes South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, Matt Kuchar, Sweden's Alex Noren, and three-time winner Jordan Spieth.
Spieth drew one of the biggest roars of the day with a 31-foot eagle putt from just off the green on the 18th to breathe new life into his challenge after a late stumble.
Spieth looked to be on the charge after reaching the turn at three under for the day, before rattling off three more birdies on the 10th, 12th and 14th holes to move to six under.
But back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th saw him tumble down the leaderboard until the late eagle sealed a six-under-par 66 and revived his hopes of a second victory of 2021 following his Texas Open win last month.
"This tournament' s done a lot for me in the past and I'm glad I'm in contention," Spieth said, admitting that his last-hole eagle couldn't have come at a better time.
"I was kind of leaking oil coming in over the last few holes and I made up for it there."
© 2021 AFP