Evansville, IN – Australian Alistair Presnell shot a 3-under 69 on Saturday to stay in front of the field after three rounds of the United Leasing Championship at Victoria National Golf Club.
With temperatures again topping 100 degrees, Presnell moved to 11-under-par 205 and holds a 2-stroke lead over a large group of players.
Nicholas Thompson, Peter Tomasulo and Richard Scott all fired 7-under 65s on Saturday to move into a share of second at minus-9. They are tied with Will MacKenzie (68), Martin Piller (69), Brian Stuard (70) and Chris Riley (69).
"Having the lead tomorrow will be slightly a job, but it's nice to know I've already got my nose in front," Presnell said.
He extended his advantage partly because he outplayed the three players tied for second place at the start of Saturday's round: Stuard, David Lingmerth and two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen. While Stuard managed a 2-under 70, Lingmerth shot even-par 72 and Janzen struggled to a 73.
The tournament went to threesomes and split tees to try to avoid the stifling heat, and Presnell was in the last group to head off from the first tee, with Janzen and Lingmerth.
Presnell slipped to a bogey at the first, but didn't let that dictate his round. He parred five in a row before a birdie at seven got him back to minus-8, where he stayed around the turn.
Then, birdies at 10, 13 and 15 pushed him to 11-under. He gave a stroke back at the 16th, but birdied 17 -- despite hitting his tee shot into a bunker -- to regain the lead.
"The game's felt pretty good from the first tee shot on," Presnell said. "Today was pretty rock solid other than a couple of shots."
He will carry a two-stroke cushion into the final round as he tries for his second Web.com Tour title. Presnell earned his first in 2009 at the Moonah Classic.
But his lead is far from safe, especially if someone currently in second place fires another low round.
Thompson played in the first group off the first tee, and poured in four birdies on his front nine to turn at minus-6. He then birdied three of his first four holes on the back nine, but stayed there after mixing two birdies with two bogeys in his final five holes.
Tomasulo began at hole No. 10 and birdied his first four holes, then moved to minus-7 with a birdie at 15. A double-bogey at 18 and bogey at the first negated a lot of those gains, but he ran off three birdies in a row from the second. He polished off his 65 with back-to-back birdies to climb closer to the top of the leaderboard.
Scott drained eight birdies and had only one bogey to join the second-place group.
Tag Ridings (68), Morgan Hoffmann (69) and Derek Fathauer (70) share ninth at 8-under 208.
NOTES: Presnell is the only player to card three rounds in the 60s...Saturday's high temperature of 105 degrees broke the June 30 record for Evansville. It was the third consecutive day of triple-digit temperatures.