Keegan Bradley knows about inclement weather, having grown up in New England, and it paid off on Saturday.
The 35-year-old Bradley shot 3-under-par 67 in chilly, rainy, windy weather to take a two-stroke lead over Max Homa after three rounds of the Wells Fargo Championship at TPC Potomac at Avenal Farm Golf Club in Potomac, Md.
“It felt like a (New England) Patriots playoff game in January,” said Bradley, the 2011 PGA Champion. “I grew up in this type of weather, so I’m kind of used to playing in it, but I’m glad to be finished with my round.
“Every shot is different, with a different club, than on a normal day. You just go out there and do what you have to do, the best you can. I’m proud of the way I played, but there’s still a long ways to go, a full round tomorrow.
“I’m putting very well and need to do it again tomorrow.”
Bradley, who claimed the last of his four PGA Tour victories in the 2018 BMW Championship, followed his 65 that was the low score in round two with the best on this day, was even par through nine holes but three birdies on the back nine to finish 54 holes at 8-under 202.
Homa, from Valencia and Cal, held the lead for much of the day before making bogeys on the 11th and 12th holes, but made a birdie at No. 14 en route to a 71.
“It was crazy,” said Homa, who captured the 2013 NCAA Individual Championship for the Golden Bears and won his third PGA Tour title early this season in the Fortinet Championship. “It was really hard because of the cold and the wet fairways kept the ball from going very far on the fairways. You got no rollout at all.
“It was very difficult, but I was able to hang in there and post a pretty good score. It was very difficult to make birdies and you just had to keep the ball on the correct side of the hole. But I just want to keep doing what I’ve been doing and have fun.
“Tomorrow it’s supposed to be very cold again, so there will be a lot more of this.”
Anirban Lahiri of India made three birdies and three bogeys in a 70 and is four shots back in a tie for fourth with James Hahn of Alameda and Cal, who made a bogey on the last hole to wind up at 70, while Matt Fitzpatrick of England is one more down in solo fifth after a 71 that included 15 pars, two bogeys and one birdie.
Seventh-ranked Rory McIlroy, the defending champion who made the cut on the number in a tie for 50th, shot 68 with four birdies on the back nine after starting at No. 10 and is six strokes behind in a tie for sixth with Cameron Young (69), Matthew Wolff of Agoura Hills (70), Chad Ramey (73), Brian Harman (73), local favorite Denny McCarthy (74) and Luke List (74).
Jason Day of Australia, who won the Wells Fargo Championship in 2018 for the last of his 12 PGA Tour victories, led after opening with 63-67, but drove into the water twice and made two triple-bogeys on his way to an ugly 79 and plummeted to a tie for 13th.
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