Keegan Bradley leads by one shot going into Sunday's final round (Pennington/Getty Images)
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Keegan Bradley maintained the lead on a hot, humid Saturday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, and will go into Sunday's final round seeking his second title at TPC Four Seasons Resort in three years.
Bradley shot a third-round 2-under 68, putting him at 13 under for the tournament, one shot ahead of Sang-Moon Bae and two up on Tom Gillis.
Bradley, who won here in a playoff against Ryan Palmer in 2011, is looking to become just the third player in tournament history to go wire-to-wire, and the first to do so since Tom Watson in 1980.
But his lead was reduced on Saturday. He had led by three shots on Thursday after shooting a course-record 10-under 60, and kept that three-shot lead after shooting 69 on Friday.
And if the tournament comes down to the 18th hole, Bradley could be in trouble.
For the third consecutive day, Bradley hit an errant tee shot at the 18th, resulting in his third bogey at the hole this week.
In the first two rounds, Bradley avoided water on the left by bailing out to the right. On Saturday, taking a more aggressive line, his ball barely stay out of the water but landed behind a boulder, forcing him to chip back out to the fairway.
His third shot landed short of the green, but he nearly holed his fourth shot with his putter.
Bae shot his third consecutive 66 and is at 12 under.
Gillis was bogey-free for 16 holes, stumbled at the 17, but rebounded by holing his bunker shot for birdie at the 18th to shoot 67.
Scott Piercy is in solo fourth at 10 under. Gary Woodland, Harris English, John Huh and Charl Schwartzel at tied for fifth at 8 under.
IRVING, Texas -- John Huh holed out from 162 yards with his approach shot at the par-4 14th for eagle during Saturday's third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
It's the first eagle at that hole since 2006.
Huh is now 7 under for the tournament through 16 holes.
IRVING, Texas -- Keegan Bradley rolled in a 34-foot birdie putt at the par-4 11th to move to 13 under during Saturday's third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Bradley led by two strokes over Tom Gillis through 12 holes.
WATCH MORE LONG PUTTS
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- In his first 12 holes of Saturday's third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship, Tom Gillis has needed just 13 putts.
Yest, that's a pretty good ratio.
Gillis has one-putted nine greens, and holed out from the fringe at the par-4 eighth for par.
In only two of his first 12 holes has he needed two putts.
Gillis entered the third round leading the field in strokes gained-putting.
A bogey-free 3 under on his round, Gillis is currently at 11 under for the tournament, two shots behind leader Keegan Bradley.
IRVING, Texas -- Keegan Bradley finished a roller-coaster opening nine with a birdie in Saturday's third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Bradley leads by two shots over playing partners Sang-Moon Bae and Tom Gillis as the final group starts the back nine.
Bradley hit just three of seven fairways and five of nine greens on the front side, suffering bogeys at the fifth and sixth holes. But he also rolled in three puts from outside 12 feet to keep the round from slipping away.
Bradley made the turn 1 under on his round and 12 under for the tournament.
Gillis and Bae are each 2 under for their rounds and 10 under for the tournament.
The next closest pursurer is Harris English at 8 under.
IRVING, Texas -- Sang-Moon Bae, in chasing after leader Keegan Bradley, rolled in a 32-foot birdie putt at the par-3 second hole in Saturday's third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Bae is 2 under on his round through eight holes, putting him at 10 under at that point.
IRVING, Texas. -- Tournament leader Keegan Bradley hit a 128-yard approach shot to 11 feet at the par-4 third, then sank the putt for his first birdie in Saturday's third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Bradley is even par on his round through seven holes and remains 11 under for the tournament, two shots ahead of playing partners Tom Gillis and Sang-Moon Bae.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Ken Venturi, the 1964 U.S. Open champ and famed TV golf analyst who died Friday at the age of 82, enjoyed a longtime friendship with Byron Nelson.
Peggy Nelson, Byron's widow, relayed the story Saturday of the first time Venturi saw Lord Byron. Venturi was just a kid and had taken a camera to the course to watch Nelson compete in a TOUR event. Venturi, in his eagerness to watch Nelson, found himself a little too close to the action.
"Byron said, 'Kid, could you move back under the ropes a little?'" Peggy said. "Ken goes home and tells his mom, 'I met the greatest man today, Byron Nelson, and he spoke to me.' His mother said, 'What did he say?'
'He said get out of the way, please.'"
Peggy Nelson discussed the fondness her late husband had for Venturi. Byron struck up a friendship when Venturi was a decorated amateur player, and they maintained that friendship for decades. When the PGA TOUR made its stop in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Venturi was working for CBS, he would get together with Nelson, who also had a brief career as a TV golf analyst.
"I'm sure one of the things Kenny would've learned from Byron is how Byron was so kind and so understanding and compassionate to the golfers out there," Peggy said. "He was not critical of them. He wouldn't make any kind of negative comments even if they missed a shot."
One of the most celebrated events involving Nelson and Venturi was a match at Cypress Point in 1956, in which Nelson -- already retired as a pro golfer -- and his Fort Worth rival Ben Hogan took on amateurs Venturi and Harvie Ward. Few people knew the details of the event until Mark Frost wrote the book, "The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever."
From then on, Nelson and Venturi remained friends. After Lord Byron died in 2006, Venturi stayed in touch with Peggy.
"Just a precious, precious friendship," Peggy said. "I think if Byron could have, he would've adopted Kenny. He was a great guy."
Mike McKinley, the HP Byron Nelson tournament chairman, also recognized the relationship between Byron Nelson and Venturi.
"Ken Venturi was a great friend of the tournament and he will be dearly missed," McKinley said in a statement. "Ken was the first of the young golfers that Byron mentored and he remained very close to Byron. He was a great friend to our tournament. The world of golf has lost another of its great gentlemen."
IRVING, Texas -- The final threesome has teed off in Saturday's third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship. By early indications, scores may not be as low as in the first two rounds.
Justin Leonard, starting his round off the 10th tee, had the quickest start of any player, with birdies in his first three holes. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Dallas native, making his 20th start in his hometown event, started 11 strokes off the lead held by Keegan Bradley.
Brian Harman and D.H. Lee also are 3 under in their rounds and have moved inside the top 10 of the leaderboard.
Sang-Moon Bae has made up two of the three shots in which he trailed Bradley after the second round. Bae birdied his first two holes and is at 10 under, one shot behind Bradley.
Martin Kaymer and Camilo Villegas also have started strong; both are 2 under on their rounds through six holes.
Jordan Spieth, the 19-year-old from Dallas, is 2 over through his first nine holes and has dropped to 1 under.
FOLLOW THE FINAL GROUPS ON SHOT TRACKER
Keegan Bradley is seeking his second win at the HP Byron Nelson Championship (Pennington/Getty Images)
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- With a three-shot lead entering Saturday's third round, Keegan Bradley is in good position to achieve something no player at the HP Byron Nelson Championship has done in 32 years: win wire to wire.
Tom Watson did it in 1980 en route to winning the tournament for the third consecutive year (and fourth overall). In 1976, Mark Hayes also went wire to wire. Those are the only two HP Byron Nelson winners known to have won wire-to-wire. (Complete first-round scores are not available for inaugural event in 1944 won by Nelson himself.)
Bradley surged to the top of the leaderboard with a course-record 60 on Thursday that gave him a three-shot lead, and he maintained it on Friday with a second-round 69 under tougher afternoon scoring conditions.
"A three-shot lead with two rounds to play is a huge positive," Bradley said.
Bradley's three-stroke lead ties for the second-largest 36-hole advantage on the PGA TOUR this year (see chart below). Phil Mickelson had the largest 36-hole lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open when he lead by four and eventually went on to finish off the only wire-to-wire win on TOUR this year.
Will Bradley follow suit? He's trying not to get too far ahead of himself.
"I can think about (winning) a little bit but we have two more rounds to play," Bradley said. "I certainly like my chances. I love this course and obviously the position I'm in is great. But I'm going to have to play really good golf to win the tournament.
LARGEST 36-HOLE LEADS IN 2013
|4||Phil Mickelson||Waste Management Phoenix Open||Won|
|3||Dustin Johnson||Hyundai Tournament of Champions||Won (event shortened to 54 holes)
|3||Keegan Bradley||HP Byron Nelson Championship||???|