Putnam extends lead to 7 in Texas

Midland, TX ( - Andrew Putnam fired an 8-under 64 on Saturday to stretch his lead to seven strokes at the WNB Golf Classic.

Putnam, who is seeking his first career victory on the Tour, finished 54 holes at Midland Country Club at 20-under-par 196.

"I knew I was definitely creating a gap," Putnam said about his lead. "I really didn't have to look at a scoreboard, I kind of knew. You can always feel where you're at."

Richard S. Johnson (66) and Rod Pampling (68) shared second place at 13-under, while four-time Tour winner Mathew Goggin (67) and Tom Gillis (71) are tied for fourth at minus-12.

Jin Park (64), Sam Saunders (67) and Harold Varner III (68) occupied sixth at 11-under 205.

Putnam opened his round with a chip-in birdie at the first and followed that with another gain at the second to move to 14-under and push his lead to two over Pampling, who birdied the first, second and fourth to reach minus-12.

Putnam started to pull further ahead with birdies at the fourth and sixth. After parring his next two holes, he capped an outward 31 with a birdie at the ninth to reach 17-under and claim a 5-stroke lead over Pampling and Goggin.

Goggin had birdied the second, fifth and eighth around an eagle at the fourth to meet Pampling at 12-under. He would trade a birdie at the 15th with a bogey at the 16th to end there.

Pampling snapped a streak of seven straight pars with a birdie at the 12th to cut Putnam's lead to four, but Putnam followed in the final group with a birdie at the 12th to regain his 5-stroke advantage.

No one would get any closer than that from there, as Putnam closed his bogey- free round with birdies at the 15th and 18th to stretch his lead to seven entering the final round.

"I just started playing some really good golf," said Putnam. "I didn't drive it perfectly, but I missed it in spots that I was able to recover from and still hit at the green and at the pin."

Pampling countered a bogey at the 16th with a birdie at the 17th while Johnson had six birdies during his bogey-free round to earn his share of second place.

NOTES: Putnam's 7-stroke edge is the largest third-round lead in tournament history and is tied for the second-largest in tour history. Steve Wheatcroft holds the record with an 8-stroke lead after 54 holes of the 2011 Melwood Prince George's County Open ... With winds predicted to reach up to 45 mph on Sunday, players will be grouped in threesomes off split tees ... The largest come-from-behind wins on the final day in tour history were by 10 strokes by John Flannery at the 1991 Reno Open and by Gary Hallberg at the 2002 Northeast Pennsylvania Classic.