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Talor Gooch hit only three fairways on Saturday but he will still take a handy lead into the final round of the RSM Classic as he hunts his first PGA Tour victory.
Overnight leader Gooch put together a three-under 67 in tough conditions at Sea Island in Georgia to reach 16 under, going three shots clear of Seamus Power of Ireland (67) and Sebastian Munoz of Colombia (69).
"Any day like that is going to be a grind on the tour," Gooch said. "To be frank, what you're trying to do out there is avoid bogeys.
"It would have been easy today at times to just really get conservative and really be defensive. I was pleased I was able to stay aggressive at times."
American Gooch is playing as well as anyone in the fall who hasn't won, with four finishes among the top 11 in his six tournaments. He now is on the cusp of breaking into the top 50 in the world.
Power and Munoz are both tour winners.
Power won the Barbasol Championship this summer the same week as the British Open, so it didn't not come with an invitation to the Masters. A victory on Sunday will.
Tom Hoge, also in search of his first win, had a 67 and was alone in fourth, while Luke List (66), former RSM Classic winner Mackenzie Hughes of Canada (70) and Scott Stallings (69) were another shot behind.
Cameron Smith was the leading Australian, tied 12th after a 68 but he is seven shots behind Gooch, with Adam Scott (70) a further five shots away.
Gooch will be trying to become the seventh player in 12 years to make the RSM Classic his first tour title.
"I want to be the best and I want to compete against the best and I want to be the best Oklahoma State golfer on tour," he said.
"Everyone talks about Matt Wolff and Viktor Hovland, rightfully so. They're incredible players.
"But that's always a nice little something to kind of get you to work a little bit harder, be a little bit more diligent and try to prove them wrong."