Kelly Kraft, Harold Varner III share 54-hole lead at The Greenbrier

Kelly Kraft, Harold Varner III share 54-hole lead at The Greenbrier

PGA Tour

Kelly Kraft, Harold Varner III share 54-hole lead at The Greenbrier

Here is a recap of Saturday’s third round at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier at The Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.:

LEADING: Kelly Kraft couldn’t build on a hot stretch in the middle of his round, but he’s still on top. He has company now, though.

A 1-under 69 in the third round allowed Kraft to stay in the lead, but he’s no longer in front by one. He now shares the top spot with Harold Varner III, who birdied four of his last eight holes for a 4-under 66.

Kraft, 29, had his first experience with a 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour this week, but for a while he showed his pedigree as a former U.S. Amateur champion (2011) in a pressure environment Saturday.

Kraft began his day with nine straight pars but then caught fire with three straight birdies – one via a chip-in – from Nos. 10-12. He had moved three ahead. And then the nerves appeared to come into play, as he parred his next three and then bogeyed two of his final three (Nos. 16 and 18) to falter.

Varner, 27, was flawless on Saturday with pars in his first 10 holes before his hot finish. He entered the week having not placed in the top 40 in his last five starts. Then again, he hadn’t finished top 40 in his nine starts prior to a T-7 at the Players Championship in May.

Kraft himself has had just one top 40 (T-35 at Memorial) in his last 11 starts.

Both players are looking for their first PGA Tour win.

CHASING: Defending champion Xander Schauffele fired a third-round 65 to put himself one off the lead. He’s at 13 under alongside Kevin Na, who also shot a Saturday 65. Sam Saunders is solo fifth at 12 under. Bubba Watson also shot 65 and is T-6 at 11 under alongside Joel Dahmen (67) and Anirban Lahiri (71).

SHOT OF THE DAY: Certainly the high point of co-leader Kraft’s Saturday…

SHORT SHOTS: Lahiri shockingly missed a tiny putt early in his round and was 4 over on the day through 11. But three late birdies allowed him to stay in the hunt heading into Sunday. … Keegan Bradley and Tony Finau are among those T-14 at 9 under after Saturday 67s. … Jim Furyk sits T-21 at 7 under. … Webb Simpson struggles mightily on Saturday with a 76. He plummets from a tie for second to a tie for 30th. … 19-year-old Joaquin Niemann fires a 72 to drop 22 spots to T-30. … Phil Mickelson is T-38 at 5 under.

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