American golfer Jason Dufner, chasing his third US PGA title in five weeks, fired a four-under-par 66 to keep a one-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round of the $6.4 million Colonial invitational.
Dufner, who led by two strokes when the day began, stood on 15-under 195 after 54 holes with 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson - seeking his second Colonial title in three years - one stroke adrift after a third-round 65.
“There has been a lot of good golf and I have a lot of confidence going to the first tee on Sunday,” Dufner said.American Tom Gillis was a distant third on 203, one stroke ahead of Bo Van Pelt, with Ryan Palmer and John Huh on 205 on the all-American leaderboard.
Dufner won his first US tour title in his 163rd try on April 29 with a playoff victory at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans.
Last weekend, he joined compatriot Hunter Mahan as this year’s only repeat US PGA winners by taking the Byron Nelson crown. A victory on Sunday would make him the first triple winner in a US PGA season since Jim Furyk in 2010.
“I’ve just been working really hard on my game,” Dufner said. “Breaking through at Zurich a few weeks ago really gave me some confidence and I’m just trying to run with it.”
Dufner opened with a birdie at the par-five first and added another at the seventh while Johnson opened with back-to-back birdies and added another at the fifth to match playing partner Dufner for the lead at 12-under.
Dufner birdied the seventh but Johnson again matched him for the lead by sinking a 26-foot birdie putt at the ninth, leaving them deadlocked at 13-under and five strokes clear of the field as they began the back nine.“The front nine, I hit the ball pretty good - gave myself some opportunities,” Johnson said. “The back nine was certainly a battle.”
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