Ponte Vedra Beach, FL – Chesson Hadley dropped three strokes in the last two holes Saturday to hand Scott Gardiner the third-round lead at the Web.com Tour Championship.
Gardiner carded a 5-under 65 in round three to end 54-holes at 10-under-par 200. The Australian will go for his second tour win on Sunday.
Hadley's late struggles closed a round of even-par 70. He was joined in second place at minus-9 by Joe Durant (68) on Dye's Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass.
Andrew Putnam is alone in fourth at 8-under 202 after his second straight 67. Jamie Lovemark fired a 66 to move into fifth place at minus-7.
Bud Cauley (65) matched Gardiner for low round of the day and that helped Cauley climb into a tie for sixth. He was joined at 6-under 204 by Rod Pampling (68) and Russell Knox (68).
The top 25 on the Web.com Tour already received their PGA Tour cards for the 2013-14 season, and the top 25 eligible players on the Web.com Finals Series money list will also gain their PGA Tour cards for next season after this event.
Gardiner played two groups in front of Hadley after a 3-hour weather delay Saturday morning changed tee times to threesomes off split tees. He was done his round before Hadley's struggles.
Hadley chipped his third at the par-4 17th within five feet, but failed to convert the par putt and that trimmed his lead to one.
At the 18th, Hadley pushed his drive right of the fairway. From a side-hill lie, he pulled his second left of the green and into the water. Hadley hit a nice chip with his fourth, but again missed a putt from inside five feet. He tapped in double-bogey to fall one back.
"I need to go find something for tomorrow. This isn't junior golf, so we need to go figure it out," said Hadley, who hit only 12 greens in regulation.
Gardiner opened with an eagle on the first.
"I think I hit a 4-iron to about six feet. That's a nice way to start," said Gardiner of his eagle at the first.
He gave one stroke back as he bogeyed the second. After four pars in a row, Gardiner poured in three consecutive birdies from the seventh to jump to minus-9.
Around the turn, Gardiner tripped to a bogey on the 13th, but he atoned for that error with a birdie on No. 14. He closed his round with a birdie at the last to get in at 10-under.
"It's more about planning how I'm going to play into the greens," said Gardiner of Sunday's round. "Just trying to use the whole green so I've got more margin for error."
Hadley holed his second shot at the short par-4 third for eagle to move to minus-11. He ran off 12 consecutive pars from the fourth to remain atop the leaderboard.
The Rex Hospital Open winner pushed his lead to three with a birdie at the par-5 16th. He gave three shots back in the last two holes to lose his lead.
Durant carded back-to-back birdies at seven and eight to go with seven pars on his front nine. Around the turn, he wrapped bogeys at 12 and 17 around birdies on the 14th and 16th.
NOTES: Gardiner, the 2010 Chattanooga Classic winner, leads the field in putts per green in regulation for the week ... Putnam bounced back from a double- bogey on the 10th with a hole-in-one on the par-3 11th.