Rookie Duncan keeps lead in Safeway Open

Rookie Tyler Duncan kept his nerve and the lead in the Safeway Open.

The 28-year-old Duncan, playing his first event as a PGA Tour member, shot 1-under par 71 and leads Chesson Hadley by one stroke heading to the final round of the season-opener on the North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa.

Duncan, who chipped in for eagle on the final hole of round two to grab the lead, sank a six-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and then closed with two pars to post a 54-hole total of 14-under 202.

“I feel OK now, but I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet,” said Duncan, who is playing in only his second PGA Tour event after officially earning his card on Monday. “But it probably will after dinner when I’m laying in bed.

“I’m sure I’ll be nervous tomorrow, but I am looking forward to it.”

Hadley, back on the PGA Tour after leading the Tour money list last season, sank a 10-foot birdie putt to cap a 70, while defending champion Brendan Steele totaled 71 and is two shots behind in a tie for third with Bud Cauley, who birdied three holes on each nine in a bogey-free 66.

Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, who won at Silverado two years ago, carded a 68 and is three strokes back in a tie for fifth with Graham DeLaet of Canada, who totaled 69.

Phil Mickelson sank a six-foot birdie putt on the last hole to shoot 66 and is another shot down in a tie for seventh in a tie for Andrew Putnam of Pepperdine and Bill Haas, who both had 69s, and Tony Finau, who came in at 71.

“Well, I am going to win, it’s a matter of time,” said Mickelson, who has won 42 times on the PGA Tour, but not since the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield, Scotland. “I don’t know if it’s tomorrow. I don’t know if it’s in China, but it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen soon because I’m starting to play well enough to do it.”

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