Donald positioned for elusive Heritage victory
By PETE IACOBELLI
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | April 20,2014
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Luke Donald shot a 66 to take a two-stroke lead over John Huh after three rounds of the RBC Heritage on Saturday.
Donald has done just about everything on Harbour Town Golf Links the past five years — except win. He lost in a playoff to Brandt Snedeker here in 2011, part of a run of four top-three finishes since 2009. Donald had an eagle and six birdies to finish at 8-under 205 and carry the lead into Sunday here for the second time in that stretch.
Huh shot a 68 and was at 6 under.
Major champions Charl Schwartzel (68) and Jim Furyk (71), Nicholas Thompson (68) and Ben Martin (71) were tied for third at 5 under.
Matt Kuchar, ranked sixth in the world, shot 70 as part of a group of five golfers another shot back at 4 under.
Donald’s performance capped a long day at soggy Harbour Town, where 65 golfers had to finish the second round before the third could begin with K.J. Choi, Furyk and Ben Martin tied for the lead.
But by midafternoon, the moisture had softened things up and competitors were treated to slick greens easily accepting approach shots.
At times, it looked more like a local club shootout than a PGA Tour stop.
Thompson, whose sister Lexi won her first LPGA Tour major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship earlier this month, got things going with five birdies on the front nine to lead at 7 under. But bogeys at the 16th and 18th holes dropped him back into the group at 208.
Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, was among those with an early start and jumped into the chase with a third-round 68 to move to 5 under. He said the course held up well despite more than 2˝ inches of rain that fell here Friday.
Schwartzel has not won on the PGA Tour since his surprising run to the green jacket, when he birdied the final four holes.
“I think if I can continue the ball striking and giving myself chances I can make a few (birdies) tomorrow and give it a shot,” he said.
Furyk, the 2010 winner at Harbour Town, made birdie on his second hole to take the lead at 6 under. He failed to build on that hot start but held on to stay in the hunt.
Martin, searching for his first PGA Tour win, made pars throughout the back nine for his even-par 71 to keep himself in the group three shots behind.
The craziest day might have belonged to Kuchar, the highest-ranked player competing at Harbour Town after the season’s first major. He followed his fifth-place showing at the Masters last week with a strong bogey-free 66 on Thursday to take the lead.
Things went the other way quickly Friday, with Kuchar posting a pair of double bogeys before the rains came and suspended play. Kuchar struggled some more with a bogey on the eighth hole once he restarted Saturday. Then he made four birdies on his back nine to climb back in it.