Three share lead at through 54 at


COLUMBUS, Ohio - Richard Sterne shot a 4-under 67 on Saturday for a share of the lead with Derek Fathauer and Justin Thomas in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship, the third of four events in the Tour Finals.

Sterne had an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys to match Fathauer and Thomas at 5-under 208 on Ohio State's wind-swept Scarlet Course.

''It's firming up,'' Sterne said. ''The greens are getting firm, so you can't get close. You are struggling to make pars out there if you don't do the right things.''

The top 25 players on the money list are competing against each other for PGA Tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals and the final leader getting a spot in The Players Championship.

The other players - Nos. 26-75 from the Tour money list and Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings - are fighting for another 25 cards based on their earnings in the four tournaments. Sterne got a spot in the series as a non-PGA Tour member with FedEx Cup finishes that would have placed him between 126th and 200th in the standings.

Sterne hit a 6-iron to 3 feet to set up his eagle on the par-5 12th. The 32-year-old South African, No. 82 in the world, is a six-time European Tour winner and 2013 Presidents Cup player. He had hip surgery in March and was sidelined four month.

Fathauer had a 76 after opening with rounds of 63 and 69 to take a three-stroke lead. He was 13th on the Tour's regular-season money list to secure a 2014-15 PGA Tour card.

''The greens were really fast and kind of crusty around the holes,'' Fathauer said. ''They were tough to make putts. It's almost impossible to get your ball close. You've got to make some putts to shoot anything near even par out there.''

Thomas shot 72.

''Anytime you get 15-20 mph winds, and especially with these conditions, it's tough,'' Thomas said. ''You really have to control your flight. ... It was just really difficult to be committed to every shot.''

Tom Hoge, Blayne Barber and Vaughn Taylor were a stroke back. Hoge shot 67, Barber 70, and Taylor 74.