Flock of birdies lift Toms to new heights

David Toms posted a six-under-par 65 to open up a commanding seven-shot lead after the third round of the St Jude Classic here on Saturday.

Toms, who missed the first two tournaments of the season after wrist surgery, seems to have finally put his problems behind him. He birdied five of the first seven holes, made his only bogey of the day at the ninth and then picked up two more birdies on the back nine.

"It's nice to be playing well again and be in the hunt," said Toms, who won this event last year with a three-shot victory over Nick Price. "This is why I love to play on the Tour. When you're not playing very good golf, it's not much fun. I'm having fun this week."

John Daly, who slipped from a tie for fourth to a tie for 19th with a 72, said the winds messed with a couple of his shots.

"What Dave is doing today is phenomenal," Daly said. Toms' 54-hole 195 total is only two strokes off the 20 under he posted in winning last year. The course record is 26 under by John Cook in 1996.

Toms is attempting to become the first repeat champion of the event since Lee Trevino did so in 1971 and 1972 at the Colonial Golf Course.

Vaughn Taylor began the day one shot behind Toms but could not keep up with the pace as he shot an even-par 71 to move to 11 under overall. Brian Gay was third, eight strokes back, with Hirofumi Miyasi of Japan a further shot off the pace.

ST JUDE CLASSIC (Memphis) Leading third-round scores: (US unless stated): 195 D Toms 67 63 65. 202 V Taylor 66 65 71. 203 B Gay 71 66 66. 204 H Miyase (Japan) 68 69 67. 205 R Beem 73 64 68; T Herron 72 64 69; B Estes 74 64 67. 206 C Bowden 72 68 66; T Pernice Jnr 75 68 63; S Allan (Aus) 70 67 69. 207 T Purdy 72 64 71; D Paulson 72 68 67; F Jacobson (Swe) 75 68 64; P Stankowski 67 69 71; S Cink 68 70 69; K Cox 72 67 68; M Bradley 70 70 67; F Funk 73 68 66. 208 J Daly 71 65 72; J Kribel 73 65 70; D Peoples 71 69 68; B Crane 70 65 73; C Howell III 70 70 68; J Edwards 73 68 67; M Grob 75 67 66; B Kortan 75 67 66; S Lowery 74 64 70; J Senden (Aus) 74 69 65. 209 P Sheehan 69 70 70; J Delsing 72 70 67; B Andrade 75 67 67; D Briggs 74 68 67; H Kuehne 73 66 70; B Bryant 72 68 69; N Begay III 75 65 69; J Ogilvie 74 69 66; M Kuchar 73 66 70; L Roberts 71 71 67; G Sauers 74 66 69; R Damron 71 69 69; M Allen (Ire) 71 68 70.

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