Stallings-Mullinax, Rahm-Palmer Share Lead

Scott Stallings and Trey Mullinax are not among the big names in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, but they are the top of the leaderboard.

Stallings and Mullinax carded a bogey-free, 10-under-par 62 in the four-ball format in round three on Saturday to tie 36-hole leaders Jon Rahm of Spain and Ryan Palmer for the lead at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La.

“We play a lot of practice rounds together,” said Stallings, who has won three times on the PGA Tour. “We’ve known each other for a few years. Just kind of we played so much together, it just kind of made sense. We know each other’s games pretty well.”

Mullinax (pictured left) holed a 16-foot eagle putt on the second hole and collected eight birdies in the round as he and Stallings (right) equaled Rahm and Palmer at 23-under 193.

Many players came back early Saturday to finish round two before round three was played, and tournament officials were able to get the proceedings back on track after a lengthy rain delay in the first round on Thursday.

Mullinax was looking forward to the final round, which will be played in the alternate-shot format.

“I really enjoy alternate shot,” said Mullinax, whose only pro victory came in the Rex Hospital Open on the Tour. “Scott hits the ball great. Hitting it nice. We’re both putting well. I don’t feel like there is much pressure on us. Just go out and do our thing.”

Rahm and Palmer played 30 holes Saturday, finishing off a 65 in the alternate-shot second round and shooting 64 in the third.

Palmer saved bogey with an eight-foot putt on the 17th hole after both players hit into the water, and Rahm made a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th to tie for the lead. Rahm holed chip shots on the final hole of their first two rounds.

“That putt Ryan made (on No. 17) was probably the most important shot we made so far in the tournament,” said Rahm, who made eight birdies in the third round. “Felt like a birdie, and then to keep tied for the lead, very important.”

Said Palmer: “He’s just fun to be around. He’s actually a great guy. I’ve enjoyed every second with him. When you’re up close and personal. and watching it and see the shots he can hit around the green, you know, his short game is phenomenal. You can learn something from that, too, so I learned a lot. Honor to be a part of it.

“ … If we’re on tomorrow in alternate shot, we’re going to be hard to beat.”

South Africans Brendan Grace and Justin Harding shot 61 in the third round and are one stroke back in third, while Peter Malnati and Billy Hurley III are three back in a tie for fourth with Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia and Brian Gay after both totaled 66.

Sergio Garcia of Spain and Tommy Fleetwood of England posted a 64 and are four down in a tie for sixth with Joel Dahmen and Brandon Harkins (63), Austin Cook and Andrew Landry (62), Hank Lebioda and Curtis Luck of Australia (64), Russell Henley and Ryan Blaum (65), and Russell Knox of Scotland and Brian Stuard.

Defending champions Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy are tied for 21st after a 66.

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