John Daly tied his career-low round on the PGA Tour Saturday at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Germantown, Tenn.
Dalys 8-under-par 63 has him one shot off the 54-hole lead, held by Bob Estes. Estes has occupied the top spot ever since opening in 61. His Saturday 69 has him at 17-under-par for the tournament.
Daly recorded eight birdies and no bogeys in the third round. He is vying for his first PGA Tour title since the 1995 British Open.
It was wonderful to play that well in front of my family and friends, said Daly, who used to own a house on the TPC at Southwind course.
I havent felt this good in a long time. I really cherish this.
Dalys off-course problems have been well documented over the years - as has his erratic play. But now, the 35-year-old seems to be more in control of his game and himself.
He collected his first top-10 since 1998 in this years Phoenix Open (T9). He came close to duplicating that feat in the Honda Classic, but posted an even-par 72 on Sunday to tie for 11th.
For the year, hes earned over $300,000 ' good enough for 86th on the seasonal money list.
Daly started Saturdays third round seven shots back of Estes. He quickly made up ground by birdieing four of his first five holes.
Following a stretch of seven straight pars, Daly birdied the 13th and 14th holes to move to 14-under for the tournament, just two off the lead at the time.
At the par-5 16th, Daly smoked a 3-iron from 252 yards to within 20 feet of the cup. He missed the eagle putt but tapped in for his seventh birdie of the day.
After a par at the 17th, Daly hit what he called his best shot of the day ' a 6-iron from 211 yards to 10 feet at the par-4 finishing hole.
This time, Daly rolled in the putt ' complete with an energetic fist putt.
Daly would have held a share of the lead, but Estes birdied the 17th ' just his second birdie of the day ' to go one up with one round to play.
Scott McCarron is also one off the lead. McCarron shot 66 on Saturday to climb to 16-under.
2001 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Curtis Strange (69) is in solo fourth place following his third straight sub-70 round. Stranges winless streak dates back to the 1989 U.S. Open.
Earlier in the week, Strange failed to qualify for next weeks U.S. Open in Tulsa, Okla., as did Daly.
However, Daly didnt spend this week feeling sorry for himself. Hes already won a pair of majors ' and hes never fared too well at the Open, anyway.
In fact, Daly said a win this week would be better than either the 1991 PGA Championship or the 95 British Open.
With everything that Ive gone through in the last six years, it would be the biggest win of my career, said Daly.
Full-field scores from the FedEx St. Jude Classic