AVONDALE, La. – The third round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans is in the books. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
THIRD-ROUND UPDATES (all times ET)
5:49 p.m. — Jason Dufner came within inches of making eagle on the 18th hole for the second straight day. Instead, he tapped in for birdie and will take a two-stroke advantage over Graham DeLaet into the final round of the Zurich Classic. John Rollins and Ernie Els are tied for third at 14 under, three strokes in arrears. Steve Stricker heads the group at 13 under while world No. 2 Luke Donald is tied at 10 under.
5:21 p.m. — Luke Donald, who starts the final round 12 under, said the TPC Louisiana was a “little more fiery” a year ago. “I think the greens are holding a little bit better. I think some of the tees are being pushed up. I think they’re setting up the course where you can make some birdies.”
5:15 p.m. — Graham DeLaet has posted a 66 for the day and is 15 under through 54 holes. It’s his lowest round of the season since he shot 63 in the first round of the Sony Open — his first tournament in more than six months as he recovered from back surgery.
5:08 p.m. — For the second straight day, Bubba Watson has eagled the seventh hole, this time making a 13-footer. The recent Masters champ played the par 5s on Saturday in 5 under and he’s 10 under on the holes this week. He’s moved to 9 under for the tournament with one hole remaining.
4:57 p.m. — Looking to break a two-year victory drought, Ernie Els has quietly moved to within two strokes of the lead. He made a 6-footer at No. 15 for his second birdie in his last three holes.
4:30 p.m. — Canada’s Graham DeLaet, who is playing this year on a major medical extension due to a back injury in 2011, has joined the group at the top with his third birdie in his last four holes. DeLaet, whose career-best finish is a tie for third in Houston in 2010, is 6 under through 16 holes.
4:10 p.m. — Jason Dufner just can’t shake John Rollins. The VCU product just made a 6-footer at the 12th hole, his fifth birdie of the day, to regain a share of the lead at 15 under, two strokes ahead of Ryan Palmer, who is finished, and Graham DeLaet, who is 4 under through 14 holes.
3:53 p.m. — Webb Simpson, the runner-up last year, has posted his low round of the tournament in a 67 that moved him to 9 under. He bogeyed No. 10, which was his first hole of the day, but made six birdies the rest of the way home.
3:40 p.m. — Luke Donald has gotten to double digits at 11 under with consecutive birdies at Nos. 13 and 14. The Englishman, who won a four-way playoff in Tampa, is bidding for his second win in his last four starts — and the No. 1 world ranking if he finishes solo seventh or better.
3:23 p.m. — An adventure in the greenside bunker cost Ryan Palmer a shot at the course record. The Texan had to settle for a share at 64 after making a 5-footer for par at the 18th hole. He’s 13 under for the tournament and two behind — but the leaders have nine holes remaining.
3:10 p.m. — John Rollins continues to challenge Jason Dufner for the lead. He just made a 7-footer at the eighth hole, his second straight birdie, to pull even with Dufner at 15 under.
2:53 p.m. — Ben Curtis continues to challenge for his second straight victory. He’s 5 under through 11 holes, 12 under for the tournament and three behind Jason Dufner. The last player to win consecutive events was Tiger Woods at the 2009 Buick Open and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
2:35 p.m. — Ryan Palmer is on course record pace and he has three holes — including a par 5 — to see if he can eclipse the mark of 64, shot by five players, most recently Russell Knox and Greg Chalmers on Friday. Palmer has made nine birdies and one bogey and is now one shot behind Jason Dufner.
2:15 p.m. — Jason Dufner certainly has his putter dialed in on Saturday. After making a 2-footer at the first hole, the overnight leader has just drained putts of 51 and 24 feet at Nos. 4 and 5 to open a two-stroke advantage.
1:50 p.m. — World No. 2 Luke Donald continues to move in a positive direction. He’s 2 under through eight holes and five strokes off the lead. If he finishes seventh or higher, the Englishman will replace Rory McIlroy at No. 1.
1:35 p.m. – John Rollins chipped in from 68 feet left of the third green to join Jason Dufner at 13 under at the top of the leaderboard. The birdie was Rollins’ second in the first three holes.
1:19 p.m. — Looks like Masters champion Bubba Watson is back on track. The defending champ started on the back and birdied his first four holes on putts of 3, 3, 39 and 9 feet. He made the cut on the number Friday, thanks to a birdie at 17, and now stands 6 under.
1:07 p.m. – A 33-footer for birdie at the 10th hole was Ryan Palmer’s third straight birdie, and fifth in his last six holes. He’s 6 under for the day and has moved with two shots of Jason Dufner’s lead.
12:47 p.m. – William McGirt, one of last year’s FedExCup Playoff bubble busters, is moving up the leaderboard. He’s 3 under through eight holes and 8 under for the tournament. His career-best finish on TOUR is a tie for 14th earlier this year in Mexico.
12:30 p.m. – With 79 players making the cut, the third round used a two-tee start from 10:30 a.m.-12:40 p.m. The low rounds on the golf course belong to Patrick Reed, who is 4 under through five holes on the back nine, and Ryan Palmer and George McNeill, who have played eight holes (on opposite nines) in 4 under.
12:15 p.m. – Sunday’s Valero Texas Open champion has made birdie putts of 11 and 4 feet, respectively, on his first two holes to move to 9 under. He’s now 9 under and three behind Jason Dufner, who tees off at 12:40 a.m. ET.
Noon – Scoring conditions should be optimal on Saturday. The wind won’t be as brisk as the past two days, topping out in the 15 mph range, and the temperatures will be in the mid-80s.