In his first career start on the Web.com Tour, Ben Kohles put himself in position to win the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational on Saturday.
Kohles posted a 4-under 67 to grab a 2-shot lead after 54 holes. He finished three rounds at 11-under-par 202.
Second-round leader Trevor Murphy stumbled to a 2-over 73 to slip into a share of second at minus-9 at The OSU Golf Club. He was joined there by Cliff Kresge (64) and Aaron Watkins (65).
Casey Wittenberg and Joseph Bramlett both carded 1-under 70s in round three. They stand alongside Camilo Benedetti (69) in fifth place at 8-under-par 205.
Kohles, who turned professional earlier this week, birdied the second, but gave that shot back when he bogeyed the par-5 fourth.
After a pair of pars, he birdied the seventh and ninth to make the turn at minus-9, where he trailed Murphy by two strokes.
Murphy had dropped shots at the first and fifth, but rallied with birdies at the sixth and ninth. Murphy tripped to another bogey on the 11th, and Kohles followed with a birdie at the par-5 12th to grab a share of the lead.
Kohles moved to 11-under with a birdie on the 16th. The two-time ACC Player of the Year from Virginia parred his final two holes.
"One of the things I wanted to do was to finish in the top-25 because I don't really have any plans after this and I wanted to play next week. Obviously I'm playing a lot better and now I'm going to go out there and try to win it," Kohles said.
Murphy dipped to 9-under with a bogey on 14. He matched Kohles' birdie at 16, but closed with a bogey at the last to end two back.
"I drove it better today than I did when I shot 63 (in the first round)," Murphy admitted. "My chipping was probably the worst part of the round today and I didn't putt as well. If you aren't putting well out here, you don't have a chance. Somebody's going to be putting well and hitting it well."
Kresge tripped to a bogey on the fifth, but picked up seven strokes in a 7- hole span as he ran off five birdies and an eagle from the seventh to the 13th. A birdie on No. 16 got him within two of the lead.
Watkins birdied the first and ninth. Around the turn, he picked up four more birdies, including three in his last four holes to grab a piece of second place.
NOTES: Kohles would become the 13th player in tour history to win in his tour debut...The second round was completed earlier Saturday after weather problems the first two days pushed things back.