Kevin Chappell has been close on numerous occasions, but still is looking for his first PGA Tour victory and will have another chance in the final round of the Valero Texas Open..
Chappell, from Fresno and UCLA, birdied three of his last five holes to cap a 1-under-par 71 in the windy third round on the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio to take a one-stroke lead over Brendan Grace of South Africa and John Huh.
“It says something about me and the growth that I’ve made,” said the 30-year-old Chappell, who has six runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour. “For the fans who have followed me, that round could’ve been 78 and I’m teeing off first off the back nine tomorrow…
“I feel like I’ve made some strides mentally and physically. I was able to find something I could compete with. It’s probably the most proud I’ve been of myself in a round of golf in a long time. … It’s going to be about staying in the moment, executive my game plan, and hopefully walking up 18, it’s my time.”
Chappell, whose only pro victory came in the 2010 Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward on the Web.com Tour, recovered from three bogeys and a double-bogey 6 on the sixth hole in a front nine of 2-over 38 to wind up at 8-under 208.
Grace, who led after an opening-round 66, carded a 70, while Huh, of Los Angeles and Cal State Northridge, holed out from 73 yards from the sand for an eagle on No. 17 and sank a six-foot birdie putt on the final hole to finish at 71.
Second-round co-leaders Bud Cauley and Tony Finau struggled to 74s and were two shots back in a tie for fourth with Ryan Palmer (68), Carl Pettersson (71) of Sweden, Martin Laird (71) of Scotland, Kevin Tway (72) and Cameron Smith (73) of Australia.
Defending champion Charley Hoffman of Poway and UNLV shot 73 and was eight back in a tie for 35th.