Golf: Varner fires bogey-free 63 to seize one-shot lead at RBC Heritage

Harold Varner III is in search of his first win on the PGA Tour. PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Harold Varner III fired an eight-under 63 on Saturday (April 16) to vault into the lead with an 11-under 202 total after the third round of the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Varner shot up 22 spots on the leaderboard on the strength of eight birdies and a clean card to take a one-shot lead into Sunday's final round. The 31-year-old is in search of his first win on the PGA Tour.

A trio of players sit at 10 under - Erik van Rooyen (67) of South Africa, Ireland's Shane Lowry (65) and second-round leader Patrick Cantlay (70).

Four players are two shots back at nine under while another four sit three shots back at eight under.

Varner, who shot 72 on Friday, birdied No. 2 before carding birdies on three consecutive holes. He birdied No. 9 to shoot 31 going out.

"I think having a clean card was really what I wanted to do, just give myself a lot of looks," he said. "I think I was able to do that a lot and executed some putts as well."

Varner continued to be bothered by his Friday round.

"I would say I'm really good at putting things aside, but I did not put that aside," he said. "I was not very happy how it panned out, but it was great for me."

Cantlay had a rough round after opening 66-67. He bogeyed No. 3 before responding with three birdies going out. He then bogeyed Nos. 11 and 12 before carding yet another on the par-three 17th hole.

"I think, if you get out of position on this golf course, it's hard to get back in position. I did that a few times. I made a few more bogeys than I usually would and didn't get the ball up and down early in my round, which usually I do," Cantlay said. "So I'm going to throw this round out as a little bit of an aberration and take all the good vibes that I've had around this place into tomorrow."

But the spotlight is on Varner and his quest to finally earn a victory on American soil to go with two international victories.

"Not that people doubt it, they're just like, I've won in Australia, I've won somewhere else that I can't speak of. I mean, it just proves that I can win, and I just want to do it here," Varner said.

Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth, who was just three strokes behind Varner, had an astonishing faux pas, as he missed from a distance officially measured at only 18 inches, though it looked to be even shorter, at the final hole of the third round.

In an almost a carbon copy of his previous short miss at the Texas Open, Spieth took little time over what should have been a routine tap-in, not even bothering to take a proper stance. The three-time Major winner and former world No. 1 looked in shock as his ball caught the right edge of the hole, just as it had in Texas, and horseshoed out.

The sickening bogey undid some of the good work Spieth had previously done in working his way into contention. He shot 68 for an eight-under 205 total.

Spieth previously said after the Texas Open that it was the worst he had "ever putted in a professional event" and that he needed to improve at the Masters.

"I just have to address putting... I mean, I missed nine putts inside of six feet this week," said the Texan at the time. He subsequently missed the cut at Augusta National last week.

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