Green leads through three rounds at John Deere Classic

Jul 14, 2007 - 11:52 PM SILVIS, Illinois (Ticker) -- Nathan Green took another step toward his first career PGA Tour victory.

Green maintained a one-shot lead at the $4.1 million John Deere Classic after carding a 3-under-par 68 in Saturday's third round.

The 32-year-old Green, who entered the round with a one-stroke cushion, fired six birdies against three bogeys Saturday to improve his overall score to 15-under 198. The Australian has only one top-10 finish in 19 events this season, his second on the tour.

After firing a sizzling 8-under 63 on Friday, Green picked up where he left off a day later at the 7,257-yard TPC Deere Run course. He holed birdies on Nos. 1, 5, 6 and 8 to improve his overall score to 16-under through eight holes.

"It is hard to commit 100 percent to shots when you're so worried about the outcome," Green said. "But this week has been a little bit different. Today especially on the front nine, I know I pretty much hit most shots where I wanted to hit them. Hopefully I can do more of that tomorrow."

Green faltered with a pair of bogeys on 10 and 11 but bounced back with birdies on the next two holes. He struggled to a bogey on the par-5 17th before finishing his round with a four-shot par on 18.

Boasting just seven top-10 finishes in his 1 1/2 seasons on the circuit, Green recorded his best career finish last year at the Buick Invitational, where he was the runner-up to Tiger Woods.

"I think you probably look at leaderboards a little bit and realize - you're always curious about what's going on," said Green, who has never led a tournament through three rounds. "If you're behind you're trying to make as many birdies as you can. I think a little bit, especially toward the back nine tomorrow, you sort of have to play a little bit according to your position."

Tim Clark made a late charge to finish his round in sole possession of second place at 14-under 199 overall. The South African recorded seven birdies - including three straight to end the round - against just two bogeys to card a 5-under 66.

"I'm looking for my first win out here, too," said Clark, who also has never won a PGA event. "You can throw me in that same boat. Everyone out here on the leaderboard is a great player, so it's certainly going to take a low round tomorrow for someone to win."

American Jonathan Byrd climbed to third after firing a 6-under 65 on Saturday. The South Carolina native was tied with Clark for second overall before bogeying the 18th.

Americans Brian Gay and Kenny Perry are tied for fourth overall at 12-under 201.

First prize is $738,000.

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