Brendon Todd claimed the last of his three PGA Tour victories in 2019, but he’s in position to win again.
The 37-year-old Todd sank a 12-foot par putt on the last hole to cap a bogey-free, 5-under-par 66 and will take a one-stroke lead over Alex Smalley, Denny McCarthy and Adam Schenk into the final round of the 52nd John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
“That kept me bogey-free and kept me in the lead,” said Todd, who has won seven times in his professional career. “You always want to be the guy being chased. It’s just, keep your head down and make birdies.
“It’s going to be hard to run away and hide here, but that’s the goal. Anybody who is within three shots of the lead is looking to go as low as they can. So. there’s certainly going to be no defense for me tomorrow. It’s going to be the same stuff.
“I put a Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5 putter back in my bag. I’ve used it for about 10 events in the last two years. It’s the second week in a row with it. I’m feeling really good, and we’ll just keep rolling.”
Todd, who last victory came in the 2019 Mayakoba Golf Classic, holed a 26-foot eagle putt at No. 2 and added three birdies on the back nine while recording a 54-hole total of 16-under-par 197.
Smalley, 27, who has never won as a pro, made a four-foot eagle putt on the second hole while posting a bogey-free 62 that was the low round of the day, while McCarthy sank a 29-foot eagle putt on the 14th hole in his 66, and Schenk tapped in for an eagle at No. 2 en route to a 67. Peter Kuest made three birdies on each nine in a bogey-free 65 and is two shots behind in solo fourth,
“It was a dream start,” said Smalley, who is playing in his 62nd PGA Tour event. “I feel comfortable here. After my first experience here in 2021, I liked the course. I like the atmosphere, the vibes, at the tournament. I don’t know why the next first-time winner here couldn’t be me.
“So this event has a special place in my heart because it kind of served as a stepping stone to (getting my PGA Tour card). So, yeah, any place where you can win it would be great, but it would be an extra cherry on top here.
“I’m just going to try to make it happen.”
First-round leader Jonas Blixt of Sweden birdied five straight holes coming home to shoot 65 and is three back in a big tie for fifth with second-round leader Cameron Young, who could manage only a 71; defending champion J.T. Poston, who birdied the first four holes en route to a 65; Chris Kirk, who birdied the last two holes for a 66; 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, who sank a 17-foot eagle put on No. 14 in a 66; Mark Hubbard, who had two late birdies in a 67; Kevin Roy, who birdied three of the last four in a 68, and rookie William Mouw of Chino and Pepperdine, who had two birdies on each nine in another 68.
For complete results and final-round tee times, visit: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard