Poston Up By 3 Over Stallings, Grillo, McCarthy Going to Last Round of Deere

J.T. Poston lost a little ground but remained atop the leaderboard for the third straight day.

Poston, who opened the round with a four-stroke lead, shot 4-under-par 67 and is three shots ahead of Scott Stallings, Emiliano Grillo of Argentina and Denny McCarthy heading to the final round of the 51st John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.

“My goal today was to extend the lead, but I wasn’t able to do that,” said Poston, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2019 Valspar Championship. “It was a little tougher out there today and I wasn’t quite as good off the tee as I was on the first two days.

“But it was nice to make that eagle near the end of the round  and I’m still happy to be three strokes ahead with one round to go. I have the lead and I just have to keep playing good golf tomorrow to make it difficult for any of the other guys to catch me.”

Poston, who tied for second in the Travelers Championship last week, made only one bogey in the first two rounds but had two on the back nine on Saturday, before making up for them by sinking a 14-foot eagle putt on the 17th hole while recording a 54-hole score of 19-under 194 after opening with a 62.

Stallings, who has won three times on the PGA Tour but not since the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open, had some help from some old friends in a bogey-free 64, while Grillo birdied four of the last five holes to cap a 65, and McCarthy birdied the last two holes to complete his 66.

“I’ve been struggling with my irons lately and my coach asked me where my old ones were,” said Stallings, who has tied for fourth in the Travelers and tied for eighth in the Charles Schwab Challenge recently. “So I called a buddy of mine at home and he went to my house and found three sets of irons. He wasn’t sure which ones I wanted, so he had them all shipped here overnight for $400.

“I picked out my favorite ones when they got here and used them in the first round on Thursday, but struggled just a little bit with them that first day. However, they’ve been great the last two days, I’ve been hitting the ball great and just have to keep it up tomorrow.”

Said Grillo, whose only PGA Tour title came in the 2016 Open: “It’s been a long six years, but I know I can win again. I changed my putter and I’ve been working a lot on my putting, and it’s paying off. I’m seeing the lines really well on the greens and making a lot of putts. I just have to keep doing what I have been doing.”

PGA Tour rookie Callum Tarren of England shot a second straight 65 and is four strokes behind in solo fifth, while Bo Hoag holed a 43-foot bunker shot for an eagle on the second hole to kick-start a 63 that was low round of the day and is one more down in a tie for sixth with Chris Naegel, who birdied the first two holes and sank a seven-foot eagle putt at No. 17 in a 67.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa holed a six-foot eagle putt at No. 2 on his way to a 66 and is six shots back in a tie for eighth with Matthias Schwab of Austria, who made a tap-in eagle on the second hole after a brilliant approach shot out of the weeds from 207 yards en route to a 68.

Maverick McNealy of Stanford and Portola Valley also wound up at 68 and is seven strokes behind in a tie for 10th with Cam Davis of Australia, who made a three-foot eagle putt on the 17th hole in a 65, Hank Lebioda, who birdied four of the first six holes in a 67, and Kelly Kraft and Michael Gligic of Canada, who both wound up at 68.

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