Hal Sutton admitted a four-putt 15 years ago would have ruined his round and likely his chances of winning the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic in North Carolina.
But a more mature Sutton overcame his early double bogey on the fifth green to shoot an even-par 72 on Saturday and remain in control heading into the final round.
"As a younger player you panic in a situation like that. I've done that before," Sutton said. "It's hard to come back from something like that as a younger player. I've learned my lesson several times, sde it difficult for Sutton to come close to duplicating his 11-birdie performance in the second round.
He hit only five of 18 greens in regulation and eight of 14 fairways, but few in the field made up any ground on the 20-year PGA Tour veteran as Sutton finished at 13-under 203 for a three-stroke lead over Andrew Magee.
"There's a lot of good things about today's round because I held it together," Sutton said. "And it could have easily gotten away from me."
Magee matched Davis Love III for the low round of the day, closing with a 68 for a three-day total of 10-under 206.
"You can't rattle Hal," Magee said. "He's a solid veteran. He's not going to shoot 75 (Sunday). I know what I have to do. I have to play great golf."
Love, a former Greensboro champion, was six shots back and tied for fifth at 209.
"I'm back in the race maybe for second," Love said when asked if he could catch Sutton. "I figured I needed to get at least into double digits to have a chance."
Barry Cheesman started the day in second, five shots behind Sutton, and kept pace with his playing partner before bogeying three of his final five holes to shoot a 73 and drop into a tie with Love and several others at 7 under.
Sutton wasn't close to the precision that produced a spectacular 64 on Friday. He parred the first four holes in his third round before running into trouble on the green at the par-4, fifth hole.
After backing away from a 35-foot birdie putt because of gallery movement, Sutton left his first putt 8 feet short and proceeded to four-putt for a 6 as Omar Uresti pulled within one shot.
Sutton quickly rebounded with birdies on the next two holes as Uresti bogeyed No 11 and finished 2 over on the back for a 69. Uresti and Dudley Hart, who also had a 69, were tied for third at 208.
Sutton, who putted great in his first two rounds, regained his form on the greens on the back nine.
Leading Scores after the third round of the $3 million Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic, played on the 7,062-yard (6,426-meter), par-72 Forest Oaks Country Club:
Hal Sutton 67-64-72-203 Andrew Magee 70-68-68-206 Omar Uresti 67-72-69-208 Dudley Hart 72-67-69-208 Davis Love III 72-69-68-209 Brian Henninger 66-72-71-209 Jonathan Kaye 71-67-71-209 Barry Cheesman 70-66-73-209 Scott Verplank 66-74-70-210 Shigeki Maruyama 71-69-70-210 Doug Dunakey 67-71-72-210 Chris Perry 71-71-69-211 Jerry Kelly 71-70-70-211 John Restino 69-71-71-211 Scott Dunlap 71-67-73-211 Kenny Perry 73-70-69-212 Tom Scherrer 71-72-69-212 Scott McCarron 72-70-70-212 Jimmy Green 69-72-71-212 Justin Leonard 69-70-73-212 Sean Murphy 67-72-73-212 Brad Elder 70-68-74-212 Jesper Parnevik 69-69-74-212 Mark Calcavecchia 72-70-71-213 Bob Estes 68-72-73-213 Jeff Gallagher 71-69-73-213 Tom Lehman 73-70-71-214 Rocco Mediate 71-72-71-214 Blaine McCallister 72-71-71-214 Frank Nobilo 70-72-72-214 Willie Wood 70-72-72-214 Ken Green 69-71-74-214 Craig A Spence 73-66-75-214
Jim Furyk 70-74-71-215 Steve Pate 70-71-74-215 John Daly 70-73-73-216Reuse content