Late flourish puts in-form Perry in Classic contention

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The Independent Online

Kenny Perry finished with a flourish to move into a three-way tie for the lead through three rounds at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois. Perry, seeking his third victory in five starts, birdied the 18th hole to finish with a four-under 67 for the day and 15-under 198 for the tournament. That tied him with Eric Axley (67) and Brad Adamonis (66), who at 35 is the US PGA Tour's oldest rookie. Jay Williamson (62) and second-round leader Will MacKenzie (70) were one stroke back.

Perry was at 15-under after sinking a nine-foot birdie putt on the par-four 14th before hitting trouble on the 15th, hitting rough off the tee and two-putting from nine feet for a bogey. But he made up for it on the 18th, when his approach nearly hit the pin before settling just under six feet to its left. Perry then buried the putt to complete the birdie on the par-four hole and draw level with Axley and Adamonis. "They may have some anxiety," Perry said. "I'm not. I'm very relaxed. I'm enjoying the ride. If it goes my way, great. If it doesn't, I really don't worry too much about it. It's been awesome how I've played this year. It's been so much fun."

Axley won the Texas Open in 2006, while Adamonis is seeking his first victory. Now, they are at the top of a jammed leaderboard with Perry. "I'm just not really going to pay attention to it," Adamonis said. Axley added: "I think it's going to take a lot of birdies tomorrow."

While those three took the lead, the 41-year-old Williamson made the biggest move with a nine-under round. Five strokes off the lead when the day began, he jumped into contention for his first tour win with a strong start and an astounding 29, seven under, on the back nine.

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