The 33-year-old fired a 6'under 66 Saturday for a 54-hole total of 13-under 203, one shot better than Hank Kuehne and Michael Harris. Doug McGuigan of Langley, BC is two shots back while David McKenzie, Parry Parker and Iain Steel are at 10-under 206.
Beginning the day two shots behind Kuehne, Duke made a few adjustments to his putting style prior to the round and said it paid off for him.
I tinkered a bit with it today and I felt a lot more comfortable over the ball, said Duke. Things just felt a lot better, and I was happy with the way I played. It was a good day for me.
This will not be the first time that Duke, the 1999 Order of Merit champion, finds himself near the top of the leaderboard on the weekend. Earlier this year, he led late in final round of the Scottsdale Swing at Eagle Mountain before taking a costly two-stroke penalty with just three holes to play, eventually winding up fifth. And back in June, during the Greater Vancouver Classic, Steel holed out from a greenside bunker on the 18th hole before defeating Duke in a playoff.
If Duke needs any more incentive to shake the bridesmaids label, all he has to look back to this event one year ago when Paul Devenport drained an 80-foot eagle putt on the final hole to force a playoff. Once again, Duke wound up second. Sunday, he is looking for a reversal of fortune.
I think if I can keep putting myself in this position, eventually Ill get over the top,' Duke said. 'Its really just been a lot of bad luck. Anytime you can get an advantage with these guys, you better take it or theyll steal it away. I figure my luck has got to change sooner or later.
Harris eagled holes 1 and 16 on his way to a 6-under 66 to climb right into the hunt. He had a birdie-eagle-birdie-par finish and hopes to carry that over into the final round.
I got off to a quick start and made a lot of good up and downs today, and I hope to do much of the same tomorrow, said the 24-year old. Whoever makes the least amount of mistakes is going to win. Ill just go out and try to do the little things right and see where it takes me.
Kuehne, who won the Texas Challenge earlier this year and is currently second on the Order of Merit, wasnt overly concerned about losing the lead Saturday and is in a comfortable position with 18 holes to go.
Sure I would have liked to have played better, but Im not going to fall too far back shooting 3-under, he said. I think I left a few shots out there, but I like where I am heading into tomorrow.
Full-field scores from the Telus Quebec Open