Washington – In-form Brendon Todd surged into a two-shot lead at the RSM Classic in Georgia on Saturday to leave himself within sight of a third consecutive PGA Tour victory.
Todd, who won last week’s Mayakoba Classic in Mexico after a victory in Bermuda earlier this month, carded a superb eight-under-par 62 at Sea Island’s Seaside Course to lead by two strokes heading into Sunday’s final round.
The American journeyman, whose only other win on the PGA Tour before this year was a victory at the 2014 Byron Nelson Championship, had started Saturday’s third round tied for seventh.
But the 34-year-old from Pittsburgh produced a scintillating charge over the front nine to quickly advance through the field, notching four birdies in his opening five holes to move to four under.
A monster 28-foot birdie putt on the par-five seventh hole took him to five under, and a sixth birdie on the ninth saw him reach the turn at six under for the day.
Further birdies on the 11th and 17th left him on 18 under through 54 holes, two shots clear of Webb Simpson, who also impressed with a seven-under-par 63, and Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz.
“Like my caddie said, it was a video game out there today,” said Todd.
“Just thrilled with the way I’m hitting it and feeling out there. I putted unbelievably well and thought they were all going in.”
If Todd hangs onto his lead to complete a hat-trick of wins in consecutive starts on Sunday, he would be the first player to achieve the feat since Dustin Johnson in 2017.
He would also become only the 26th player to win three consecutive victories, joining an elite list which includes the likes of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Rory McIlroy.
Todd can expect to face a stiff final-round challenge from Simpson, whose 63 included a 25-foot putt for birdie on the 18th which left him on 16 under.
Simpson meanwhile said he was delighted to see his friend Todd enjoy success after so many lean years on the tour.
“I think it’s remarkable,” Simpson said.
“He’s a good friend of mine. To show the resilience, not playing well to come back and stay in it and get one win and two in a row and now he’s playing great again.
“I’m really happy for him.”
Munoz will also fancy his chances of claiming his second PGA Tour win of 2019 after a bogey-free four-under-par 66 which left him two adrift of Todd.
D.J. Trahan is a further shot back on 15 under after a three-under-par 67.
Trahan’s round included a charge of four consecutive birdies on the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th holes but two bogeys down the stretch, including a dropped shot on the 18th, disrupted his momentum.
Second round leader Tyler Duncan meanwhile slipped down the field after a level-par 70. Duncan is tied for fifth place alongside South Korea’s Lee Kyoung-hoon and Ricky Barnes on 14 under.
Leading scores after Saturday’s third round of the PGA Tour RSM Classic played at Seaside course in Sea Island, Georgia (USA unless noted):
194 – Brendon Todd 66-66-62
196 – Webb Simpson 65-68-63, Sebastian Munoz (COL) 67-63-66
197 – D.J. Trahan 67-63-67
198 – Lee Kyoung-hoon (KOR) 64-68-66, Ricky Barnes 68-63-67, Tyler Duncan 67-61-70
199 – Scottie Scheffler 70-66-63, Doc Redman 66-67-66, Henrik Norlander (SWE) 67-65-67, Brian Harman 67-66-66
200 – Nick Watney 67-67-66, Vaughn Taylor 68-67-65, Alex Noren (SWE) 68-65-67, Scott Brown 65-67-68, Fabian Gomez (ARG) 68-63-69
201 – Tim Wilkinson (NZL) 68-66-67, Denny McCarthy 71-62-68
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