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ILE-BIZARD, Que. - It looks like it's going to take something just this side of a hurricane to keep veteran Jim Furyk from blowing into the winner's circle at the RBC Canadian Open.
The forecast Sunday is for something just this side of a hurricane, but with a three-shot lead and after making Royal Montreal Golf Club his personal birdie factory, Furyk is looking tough to beat.
A 16-time winner on the PGA Tour (including two Canadian Opens), but winless since 2010, Furyk had a 5-under par 65 Saturday to go with previous rounds of 67 and 63 and his 54-hole total of 15-under par 195 gives him a three-shot lead over South African Tim Clark.
Because of an ominous weather forecast, the tee times for Sunday's final round have been moved up to between 8:05 and 9:55 a.m using split tees.
Furyk might not have had his "A" game Saturday, but some critical up-and-downs set the tone (he was under the lip of the fairway bunker on the first and still made par) and then kept his round going.
"Those up-and-downs were the difference between 65 and maybe a 68 or 69 today and it's nice to have that happen," said Furyk.
On the 11th, he overshot the green and got a drop from the cart path. The ball rolled into a depression and Furyk played a low shot into the slope. The ball popped up and settled 15 feet away. He made the putt.
"For it to end up 15 feet was a bonus and then to actually make the putt, I definitely feel like I stole one," he said.
After Clark, Kyle Stanley is five shots back after a 68 and Jamie Lovemark moved to 9-under, six back, after a 67.
The crowd at Royal Montreal was primed to push Saskatchewan's Graham DeLaet, who entered the day two shots back, but not even their urging could convince a number of great birdie opportunities to fall. The final indignity on the greens was a three-putt from 12 feet on the 18th hole (he ran his first putt five feet by the hole) which left him with an even-par 70 and 8-under for the tournament, seven shots back of Furyk.
"I knew I wasn't that far off and if I could just finish a couple under par today, maybe I'd have a shot (Sunday)," said DeLaet, who had 30 putts on the day after 29 in the first round and 25 in round two. "Disappointing to three putt the last. I really wanted to make birdie and got overly aggressive.
"But it was a fun day. It was awesome. The crowds were amazing out there. I felt tons of support and hopefully I can do something special tomorrow."
Manotick's Brad Fritsch led the Canadian contingent with a 3-under 67 Saturday and moved past half the field from T63 to T28 with a total of 3-under for the tournament. He'll play with fellow Canadian and friend Adam Hadwin (68, T28) Sunday at 8:35 a.m. off the first tee. David Hearn is also at 3-under after an even-par 70. Amateur Taylor Pendrith is T43 at 2-under and veteran Mike Weir is 1-over after a 71 Saturday, T66.
DeLaet had two bogeys and birdie on the front nine Saturday, then canned an eagle putt on 12 and another birdie on 14 to get himself back in the mix, but couldn't convert on the final few holes and had that disaster on 18. He had looks from 14 feet on 16, 17 feet on 17 and that 12-footer on the last hole.
DeLaet, the top-ranked ball striker on Tour, doesn't have the putting touch to match and that's what has held him back from winning on the PGA Tour.
Cruel game, golf.
DeLaet is first on the Tour in approaches from 200 yards, but the key to navigating the final 12 feet remains elusive.
Maybe Sunday, with a few thousand voices rooting on a fellow Canadian, that will change.