The 2000 U.S. Amateur runner-up fired a 3-under 69 for a 72-hole total of 277, one shot better than Chris Wollmann (Cleveland, OH). Fellow Americans Eric Crouse and Joey Gullion are two back.
Driscoll, 24, had a hard time controlling his shots off the tee but found his short game in a big way. On the par-3 17th hole, after launching his tee shot over the green, Driscoll flew the green again coming back before chipping in from the rough to save par.
All in all it was a pretty solid round, I saved a bunch of shots out there, he said minutes after coming off the course. Sure I also left a few out there, but that happens in this game. My distance control was awful, but I made up for it with the short game today. I ended up saving more shots that I gave away.
When asked how he will approach Fridays final round, Driscoll made it clear that he has no intention to play in conservatively.
There are a bunch of guys right behind me, and they will be closing in quickly. The key will be to keep doing what I have been, and see where I am at the end of the day.
Following play Thursday, the starting field of 240 golfers was cut to the low 60 scores plus ties. Those remaining will play the ChampionsGate International course in the final round Friday, with 20 exempt and 15 (plus ties) non-exempt cards for the 2002 Canadian Tour season to be handed out after play. The Canadian Tour had announced earlier Thursday that five additional non-exempt cards would be awarded than was originally planned. Dave Levesque (+3) was the lone Canadian to advance.
Also moving on were former US Amateur champions Hank Kuehne (1998) and Jeff Quinney, who defeated Driscoll in a playoff at the 2000 final. Kuehne is at 5-under, while Quinney is one behind him.
Former NHL star goaltender Grant Fuhr (Calgary, AB) wound up at 19-over 307.
Wollmann, 26, has been pleased with his play this week and, like Driscoll, stressed he will not change his game plan in the final round.
Ive been driving the ball well, my chipping and putting has been strong, so I have been able to take advantage of the par 5s, said Wollmann, who played on the Buy.Com Tour last season. But, like any Q-school, you have to play to win. If you goal is just to finish in the top 20, theres a chance you will lose out.
The big mover of the day was Crouse, whose 6-under 66 moved him from six shots out of the lead after Wednesday to within one with 18 holes to play.
Regardless of where you are on the leaderboard, the difference is if you are willing to lay it all on the line and be satisfied with the results, said the 30-year-old, his right arm slung over wife Angelas shoulder. Today I did lay it on the line, and I am thrilled. Angela has stood by me all the way, and we are both looking forward to trying to nail this down tomorrow. I feel this is the fastest-growing international tour in the world, and I want to be a part of it.
Round 3 Scores From Winter Qualifying School