Marino leads at Pebble Beach
Steve Marino (Gallo Images)
American Steve Marino dealt with the good, the bad and the ugly in a wildly fluctuating third round on Saturday to stay ahead of the chasing pack in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Four ahead overnight, Marino ended a frustrating day on the greens with a one-stroke cushion after carding a one-over-par 71 at Monterey Peninsula, one of three venues being used this week.
In pursuit of a maiden PGA Tour title in his fifth full season on the US circuit, the 30-year-old mixed two birdies and an eagle, at the par-five sixth, with five bogeys for a 12-under total of 202.
That left him one ahead of compatriots Jimmy Walker and Bryce Molder, Walker having fired a sparkling seven-under 63 at Monterey and Molder a four-under 68 at Spyglass Hill.
Fellow American D.A. Points, who had been alone in second place overnight, was a further stroke back at 10 under after carding a one-under 71 at Pebble Beach.
"It was kind of a strange round," Marino told reporters after three-putting for bogey from just four feet on his final hole, the par-three ninth.
"I drove the ball probably better today than I did any other day, and hit some good iron shots. I just had trouble with the pace of the greens.
"I kept blowing my putts five or six feet by the hole and I had three three-putts today."
Marino has been a runner-up three times on the PGA Tour but does not believe he is now 'owed' a breakthrough victory.
"I felt like I've had the game to win out here for a while," he said. "It just has not happened. I'm not going to say that I'm due. But I feel like I'm good enough to win on this tour."
Walker, like Marino bidding for a maiden PGA Tour victory, was delighted to be in the title hunt.
"I've won on the Nationwide Tour, and you can draw on that," the 32-year-old said after a bogey-free display. "I think it will be fun.
"A lot of guys right up at the top haven't won (on the PGA Tour) and somebody is going to do it. I'm not going to do anything special, spectacular. A solid round tomorrow and just watch what happens."
World No 4 Phil Mickelson, a three-times winner here, gave himself an outside chance of claiming his first victory of the season by recording three birdies in his last five holes.
The American left-hander wound up with a three-under 69 at the hosting Pebble Beach Golf Links to lie five strokes off the pace going into Sunday's final round on the same layout.
"I thought that the round could have been a lot better, but ... I probably got as much out of the round there towards the end as I could have," Masters champion Mickelson said.
"Throughout the course of the day, I had many opportunities to go low and I didn't take advantage of them. I've got to go really low tomorrow to give myself a chance."
The cut fell at two-under 212 with former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy of Australia and American Mark Wilson, a double winner this season, among those failing to advance.
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