Dufner Leads By 1 At Colonial

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Last week’s HP Byron Nelson Championship winner kept his assault on the competition alive in the third round with a 4-under 66. Through three rounds, he sits at 15-under 195, three strokes shy of Kenny Perry’s 54-hole Colonial CC record. Dufner will take a one-stroke lead over 2010 champion Zach Johnson into Sunday’s final round. Johnson is seven strokes clear of Tom Gillis in third place.

In his last nine starts on the PGA TOUR (35 total rounds) and dating to a share of the first-round lead at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, Dufner has held at least a share of the lead after any round 12 times (including final rounds).

Now in the 21st week of the 2012 regular season, Dufner (13 stroke-play starts) has held/shared the lead 11 times in the first three rounds of a tournament, supplanting Tiger Woods’ record (10 such leads, 16 stroke-play events, 2009) for most in a season since the beginning of the 2007 campaign.

Should Dufner win for the second straight week, he would become just the second player to win the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and HP Byron Nelson Championship in the same year (Ben Hogan/1946), but the first to do so in back-to-back weeks. With a win this week, Dufner would become the 15th player to win both the HP Byron Nelson Championship and the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial during their career. Others who have completed the “DFW Double” are Ben Crenshaw,

Roberto De Vicenzo, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Bruce Devlin, Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Tom Watson, Bruce Lietzke, Nick Price, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Rory Sabbatini and Julius Boros.

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Zach Johnson needed just eight putts to complete the outward nine on his way to a 5-under 65. Johnson needed just a single putt on

the first hole, as well as Nos. 3-9. He chipped in for a birdie-3 on the second hole. Only two players have had fewer putts over the course of nine holes. Stan Utley had six at the 2002 Air Canada Championship and Bill Nary needed just seven at the 1952 El Paso Open. Johnson took 15 strokes on the back nine for a total of 23 putts. Aside from a 26’5 birdie putt at the par-4 ninth hole, Johnson did not face a putt longer than 7’5 on the front nine.

Johnson has now posted his last 15 rounds in the 60s at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, dating to a firstround 69 in 2009. Johnson is making his seventh start at the Colonial, where he has never finished outside of the top 30. The 2010 Crowne Plaza Invitational champion appears to be in good shape to extend that streak, currently in 2nd place after rounds of 64-67-65.

Forty-three year-old Tom Gillis posted a 1-under 69 in round three to get to 7-under 203 in his second start at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (T38/2010). In third place, he trails Jason Dufner by eight strokes.

Since joining the PGA TOUR in 2003, Gillis remains in search of his first TOUR win in this, his 130th career TOUR start. His best finish is a T2 at The Honda Classic earlier this year.

Bo Van Pelt’s streak of consecutive rounds in the 60s at Colonial CC ended at 13, following a 1-over 71 in round three. Yet to miss a cut in nine starts at the event, he’s claimed top 10s in 2004 (T5), 2010 (T10) and 2011 (3rd).

John Huh, who turned 22 on Monday, is the only PGA TOUR rookie to have claimed a win thus far in 2012 (Mayakoba Glof Classic). In Saturday’s third-round, he posted a 1-under 69 to trail Jason Dufner by 10 strokes.

After missed cuts in his first two starts as a professional; 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship and Valero Texas Open, sponsor exemption Kelly Kraft played the outward-nine in 6-under 29 en route to a 6-under 64. His 29 is one stroke shy of Colonial CC’s front-nine record of 28, held by Wayne Levi (1993). Eight players have previously carded a 29, most recently Rickie Fowler last year in round one. Kraft, the 24 year-old, defending U.S. Amateur champion, is also a two-time Texas Amateur champion (2008, 2011). Kraft, who turned pro following his first appearance at the 2012 Masters (62nd), first competed on the PGA TOUR in 2012 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he missed the cut.

1985 and 1996 Crowne Plaza Invitational champion Corey Pavin, making his 29th consecutive start at the event dating to 1984, posted a third-round, 3-under 67. Pavin (currently T16) owns eight top 10s at the Colonial. Ben Hogan leads in all-time top 10s here with 15.

By making his TOUR-leading, 19th consecutive cut and sixth straight at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, THE PLAYERS Championship winner Matt Kuchar followed opening rounds of 72-69 with a 3-under 67 in round three. He will begin Sunday’s final round T16 with eight others.

View our Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial photo galleries:

Round 3 photo gallery

Round 2 photo gallery

Round 1 photo gallery

 

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