Jason Dufner shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over Graham DeLaet after the third round of the Zurich Classic.
Winless in 163 starts on the PGA Tour, Dufner lost playoffs last year to Mark Wilson in the Phoenix Open and Keegan Bradley in the PGA Championship for two of his three career runner-up finishes. The former Auburn star had a 17-under 199 total at TPC Louisiana.
Trying to overcome a recent string of weekend collapses, Dufner birdied three of the first four holes to get to 15 under, holing 50-foot putt on the par-4 fourth and a 25-footer on the par-4 fifth.
After dropping a stroke on the par-4 sixth, he birdied the par-5 seventh and got to 17 under with birdies on the par-4 15th and par-5 18th. He has played the 18th in 4 under in three days.
DeLaet, from Canada, shot a 66. He birdied three of the final six holes.
Ernie Els and John Rollins were 14 under. Els shot a 68, and Rollins had a 69.
Ryan Palmer tied the course record with a 64 to join Steve Stricker and Cameron Tringale at 13 under. Tringale had a 68, and Stricker a 69.
Second-ranked Luke Donald was 12 under after a 66. He needs to finish at least solo seventh to regain the top spot from Rory McIlroy.
Defending champion Bubba Watson, playing in his first tournament since winning the Masters, was 9 under after a 65. He opened with consecutive 71s to make the cut by a stroke.