Miami (AFP) - American journeyman Ryan Armour surged into a five-shot lead after the third round of the Sanderson Farms Championship on Saturday to stay on course for his first PGA Tour victory.
The 41-year-old from Ohio, who has spent most of his career on junior professional tours, forged into a commanding position after a back-nine birdie blitz.
A mixed front nine which included three birdies and three bogeys saw him reach the turn at level par for the day, but Armour then reeled off five birdies in the home stretch to card a five-under-par 67.
That left Armour with a 15-under-par aggregate of 206, giving him a valuable cushion heading into Sunday's final round at the Country Club of Jackson, Mississippi.
Armour's barnstorming back nine included four straight birdies on the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th holes -- a day afters he notched birdies on the same four holes in the second round.
He then completed a fine round with a superb save on the 18th, rolling in a tricky 15-foot putt to save par.
Armour's nearest rival on Sunday will be Chesson Hadley, who shot a four-under-par 68 to take sole possession of second place at 10 under for the tournament.
A shot back was a group of five players tied for third, which included Canada's Ben Silverman and Ireland's Seamus Power.
Silverman finished on nine under after carding a three-under-par 72. Power, who shot back-to-back 68s in the opening two rounds, remained in the hunt after a third-round 71.
South Africa's Tyrone Van Aswegen, who had started the day one off the pace after a sizzling second round seven-under-par 65, drifted down the leaderboard after a two-over-par 74.
Van Aswegen was tied for ninth on seven under, eight shots off the lead.