Americans Piercy and Barnes set Barbasol pace

Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:20pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Scott Piercy birdied the final hole to join playing partner Ricky Barnes in a tie at the top of a congested leaderboard after the third round of the inaugural Barbasol Championship in Auburn, Alabama on Saturday.

American Piercy knocked in a three-footer at the par-four 18th to complete a six-under 65 after a sweltering day on the Grand National layout at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, finishing level with compatriot Barnes (65) at 13-under 200.

Piercy covered the back nine in two-under 34 to remain on track for his third PGA Tour victory but will have to contend with a Sunday shoot-out as 15 players head into the final round no more than four shots off the pace.

Overnight leaders Kim Meen-whee of South Korea and Australian Mark Hensby carded 68s in the third round to slip back into a tie for third at 12 under with Americans Jason Gore (63) and Will Wilcox (65), and Argentina's Emiliano Grillo (67).

While Piercy was delighted to share the lead with Barnes after 54 holes, he was also "a little frustrated" after struggling on the greens.

"I shot six under today and I missed it from two feet on 15 and I had a whole bunch more that were realistically birdie putts," the 36-year-old told reporters.

"I still made some, but as often as I'm hitting it close, I feel like I should be making a few more.

"I've been striking it well. I'm hitting it where I'm looking, right distance control. I just need to get that putter a little bit dialed in a little bit more."

Barnes, still hunting his first win on the PGA Tour after coming closest with a tie for second at the 2009 U.S. Open, enjoyed playing with Piercy in the third round as the two golfers effectively spurred each other on.   Continued...