Berger Cards 69, Leads Honda By 5

Daniel Berger seemed to be in total control, until the last hole. 

The 28-year-old Berger made his only bogey of the day and second of the week on No. 18 to cap a 1-under-par 69, but still holds a five-stroke lead over four players heading to the final round of the 50th Honda Classic on the Champion Course at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. 

“I played some great golf again, but there’s still a challenge ahead with 18 holes tomorrow,” said Berger, who claimed his fourth PGA Tour victory last year in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. “The challenge will be to play another great round and if I do, I’ll be holding the trophy at the end of the day. I have to keep hitting fairways and greens, and making some putts. 

“I played a good front nine and nice a good par save at No. 10, where I thought I missed the putt, and just played solid golf all day long, but I’ll have to do that one more time to win the tournament. I actually played better today than I did the first two days with lower scores. 

“I expect the greens to be firmer and faster tomorrow, and I look forward to the challenge, but I love the atmosphere from the fans out here, especially on 17 and 18, where it would be great to win.” 

Berger, who grew up and lives near PGA National and lost the 2015 Honda in a playoff to Padraig Harrington of Ireland, followed rounds of 65-65 with one birdie in each nine in windier, more difficult conditions while recording a 54-hole score of 11-under 199. 

Shane Lowry of Ireland had four birdies and a single bogey in a 67 that was low round of the day and is tied for second with Sepp Straka of Austria, who shot 69, Chris Kirk and first-round leader Kurt Kitayama of Chico, who both wound up at 71. 

“I drove the ball well and hit a lot of greens,” said Lowry, who won the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush. “You have to just make your pars and get your birdies when they come, but 67 is nice and I’m pleased with that although I’m surprised it was the low round of the day. 

“This is one of the more stressful golf courses you can play, but I enjoy it because of the challenge. You’re always one bad shot away from disaster, especially on Nos. 15, 16 and 17 (the infamous ‘Bear Trap’). 

“I’m just happy to be near the top and chasing Daniel.” 

Adam Svensson of Canada birdied the last hole for a 67 and is six shots behind in solo fifth, while Sam Burns made two birdies down the stretch to shoot 69 and is nine back in a tie for sixth with rookie Martin Contini of Argentina (70), Dylan Frittelli of South Africa (70), Alex Noren (70) of Sweden, John Huh of Los Angeles and Cal State Northridge (71), and Lee Hodges (71), who holed a 63-foot bunker shot for an eagle on the third hole. 

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