Reno - American Gary Woodland fired six birdies and an eagle on Saturday to seize a seven-point lead under the Modified Stableford scoring system at the $3m US PGA Reno-Tahoe Open.
Woodland, who suffered a lone bogey, finished with 16 points in the third round to stand on 37 points after 54 holes under the scoring method that awards eight points for double eagle, five for eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus-one for bogey and minus-three for double bogey or worse.
Fellow American Brendan Steele was second on 30 points after a 17-point round that closed with five birdies in a row followed by a chip-in eagle at the 18th hole.
"It was definitely the best finish that I could ever even imagine. So pretty special," Steele said
A birdie-birdie finish put American David Mathis in third on 29 points, two ahead of Argentina's Andres Romero and four ahead of South Korea's Charlie Wi.
The winner takes home a $540 000 top prize and, if not already qualified, a berth in the year's final major tournament, next week's PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
Woodland has not won a PGA title since the 2011 Tampa Bay Championship. Steele collected his only PGA title at the 2011 Texas Open.
Leading scores on Saturday after the third round of the $3m US PGA Reno-Tahoe Open (USA unless noted, scores based on Modified Stableford points system):
37 - Gary Woodland 14-7-16
30 - Brendan Steele 5-8-17
29 - David Mathis 10-7-12
27 - Andres Romero (ARG) 8-14-5
25 - Charlie Wi (KOR) 4-15-6
24 - Dicky Pride 5-6-13-
23 - Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 3-12-8
22 - Russell Knox (SCO) 4-8-10, Will Claxton 8-5-9, Tom Gillis 6-10-6, Brian Harman 5-13-4
21 - Noh Seung-Yul (KOR) 3-4-14, Marc Turnesa (-4)-13-12, James Driscoll 14-2-5, Bud Cauley 10-7-4, Robert Streb 7-10-4, Stuart Appleby (AUS) 12-7-2
20 - Justin Bolli 10-(-1)-11, Robert Karlsson (SWE) 5-5-10, Matt Bettencourt 6-5-9, Peter Tomasulo 3-8-9, Chris DiMarco 6-8-6, Brandt Jobe 8-8-4
(Points awarded: 8 for double eagle, 5 for eagle, 2 for birdie, 0 for par, -1 for bogey and -3 for double bogey or worse)