SILVIS, Ill. (AP) — J.T. Poston made up for two back-nine bogeys with an eagle on the par-5 17th, shooting a 4-under 67 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the John Deere Classic.
Trying to complete a wire-to-wire victory after tying for second last week in the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, Poston made a 13 1/2-foot eagle putt on 17.
“That was huge kind of going into tomorrow,” Poston said about the eagle. “I wasn’t quite as sharp today off the tee and had to play a little defensive into some of the greens. Nice to put two good swings on there and make that putt to kind of capitalize and get some ground back that I had lost.”
He had a 19-under 194 total at TPC Deere Run.
Playing partner Denny McCarthy birdied the final two holes for a 66 to join Scott Stallings (64) and Emiliano Grillo (65) at 16 under.
“Was nice to finish that way,” McCarthy said. “Nice to make a putt on 18. Nice to see something go in going into tomorrow. It’s a good feeling to kind of feel like I got something out of round, birdieing the last two.”
Poston opened with rounds of 62 and 65 to take a four-stroke lead, then played the front nine in 3 under Saturday with birdies on Nos. 2, 5 and 8. He dropped a stroke on the par-3 12th, birdied the par-4 14th and bogeyed the par-4 15th before making the big putt on 17.
From Hickory, North Carolina, the 29-year-old Poston won the 2019 Wyndham Championship for his lone PGA Tour title.
“Just trying to stay patient and composed,” Poston said. “I’m not trying to get too ahead of myself. Just trying to take it one hole at a time. Being in this position, I’m trying to focus especially on the shot in front of me and do the best I can and go from there.”
Stalling birdied Nos. 15-17.
“Look forward to the opportunity.” Stallings said. “Today was a big step in the right direction to tomorrow.”
Grillo birdied four of the last five.
“Everybody is in the same situation,” Grillo said. “Everybody wants to win. Everybody wants to make the most out of it. Definitely going to be a tough battle tomorrow.”
Iowa native Zach Johnson, the 2012 winner, was 8 under after a 67 in his 20th consecutive start in the event. He also eagled 17.
Michael Gligic (68) of Burlington, Ont., sits in a tie for 10th at 12 under, while Adam Svensson (68) of Surrey, B.C., is a shot back.
Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor, both of Abbotsford, B.C., David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., and Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., all missed Friday's cut.
The Associated Press