NAPA (AFP) – South Korea’s Bae Sang-Moon fired a seven-under par 65 on Saturday to take a four-shot lead after three rounds of the US PGA Tour Frys.com Open.
Bae, seeking a second US PGA Tour title to go with his 2013 Byron Nelson Championship win, strung together five straight birdies from the second through sixth holes and bounced back from bogeys at the seventh and 13th with a strong finish.
“I had a great day today,” said Bae, who played the last four holes at Silverado Country Club’s North Course in four-under par.
“I played really, really well. I made a bunch of good putts.”
His 16-under par total of 200 gave him a four-shot lead over American rookie Zach Blair going into the final round of the first tournament of the US tour’s 2014-15 season.
Blair had five birdies in his three-under 69 for 204.
Overnight leader Martin Laird of Scotland settled for a 71 that saw him tied for third on 205 with Americans Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka and Scott Langley.
Kuchar climbed up the leaderboard with a six-under 66, Koepka fired a 67 and Langley carded a 69.
South Africa’s Retief Goosen carded a 66 to join a group on 206 that also included Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (69), Sweden’s David Lingmerth (7) and American Hunter Mahan (68).
Bae, who started the round tied for second, one shot behind Laird, caught fire early, but it was his finish that set him apart. On the par-three 15th, Bae stuck his tee shot to within 12 feet of the hole and made the birdie putt. He escaped trouble at the par-five 16, where his fourth shot found the fringe but he made the 15-footer to save par.
“It was a really, really good par because it felt like a birdie,” Bae said.
At 17 he drilled his tee shot to within six feet of the hole and made the eagle putt, finally stretching his lead to four strokes with another birdie at the 18th.