SILVIS, United States, July 13, 2014 (AFP) -Brian Harman, who has been knocking at the door with five top-10 finishes this year, takes a one-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic.
The American shot a six-under par 65 in Saturday's third round to grab a one-stroke lead in the $4.7 million tournament at the Deere Run course.
"I struck the ball beautifully today," said the 27-year-old Harman, who rolled in two eagles on Saturday.
Harman sits at 17-under par 196 with three-time tournament champion and fellow American Steve Stricker in second on 197.
Harman seeks his first US PGA Tour victory but his winless status is not for lack of effort. In the 24 events he has played this season, his best finish is a share of third at the Northern Trust Open.
Stricker made eight birdies and just one bogey on his way to a seven-under 64.
Scott Brown flirted with a 59, but he settled for one of the best rounds of the year on tour with a 10-under 61 to stand third on 198, two shots adrift.
Harman reached the green in two on the par-five second hole then drained a 29 foot putt for the first of his two eagles.
He made another eagle at 17 when he sunk 47-foot putt and that put him at seven-under. A bogey at No. 18 dropped Harman back to 17-under for the tournament.
"I hit 17 greens, I think I only missed a couple fairways," he said. "It's good to have the ball-striking under control. Just go play golf tomorrow and see what happens."
Heading into the last few holes, Brown was gunning for the seventh 59 in Tour history and second at the John Deere Classic (Paul Goydos in 2010).
After a par at No. 16, Brown needed to eagle the par-five 17th and birdie the par-four 18th to shoot a 59.
Brown almost made the first part come true, but he just missed a 17-foot eagle putt and had to settle for birdie.
Brown could not hole-out from the fairway on No. 18 but he did make par, finishing his round at 61.
"When I hit the shot on 17, I think it was about a 10-footer for eagle, I knew if I made it I had to birdie the last," Brown said.
Second-round leaders Zach Johnson and William McGirt both shot 69s to finish in a four-way tie for fourth on 199 alongside South Africa's Tim Clark and American Jerry Kelly who shot 64 and 65 respectively.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth shot a 67 Saturday and was six shots back on 202.
Scores on Saturday after the third round of the $4.7 million PGA John Deere Classic (par 71, USA unless noted):
196 - Brian Harman 63-68-65
197 - Steve Stricker 68-65-64
198 - Scott Brown 67-70-61
199 - Jerry Kelly 66-68-65, Tim Clark (RSA) 72-63-64, Zach Johnson 63-67-69, William McGirt 64-66-69
200 - Ryan Moore 66-67-67, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 69-68-63, Johnson Wagner 66-65-69
201 - Charles Howell 66-68-67, Brad Fritsch (CAN) 70-68-63, Steven Bowditch (AUS) 64-67-70
202 - Chad Campbell 69-71-62, David Toms 65-70-67, Daniel Summerhays 69-68-65, Jordan Spieth 71-64-67
203 - Bo Van Pelt 67-69-67, Bud Cauley 67-67-69
204 - Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 63-70-71, Brian Davis (ENG) 72-68-64, D.H. Lee (KOR) 72-66-66, Troy Merritt 68-70-66, Shawn Stefani 73-67-64, Scott Langley 69-70-65