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Driscoll Takes Arkansas Lead

04 First Tee Arkansas ClassicHOT SPRINGS VILLAGE, Ark. -- James Driscoll fired a 5-under 67 on Saturday to move into the lead through three rounds of the First Tee Arkansas Classic. Driscoll completed the first 54 holes at 10-under-par 206.
Justin Bolli posted a 7-under 65 to match Ryuji Imada at 8-under-par 208. Imada carded a 6-under 66.
Nick Watney and Kelly Gibson, who shared the lead after Round 2 with Nick Watney, each shot even-par 72. They are joined at minus-7 by Bill Lunde, Chris Tidland, Daniel Chopra and Bob Heintz.
Driscoll started his day two strokes behind the leaders. After opening with three straight pars, he rolled home a birdie at the fourth.
The 26-year-old dropped in back-to-back birdies from the seventh to climb to 8 under. Around the turn, he drained a 20-footer for birdie at the 10th.
Driscoll ran off six consecutive pars to remain among the leaders. He took the top spot heading to the final round with a 3-foot birdie at the par-4 17th to close a bogey-free round at Diamante Golf Club.
'I played good and putted pretty good,' Driscoll said. 'It was a tight round for me in that there were very few sloppy mistakes. I feel like I didn't give away too many shots.'
Driscoll is looking for his first win on the Nationwide Tour. His best finish came at the 2002 Greater Richmond Open, where he tied for sixth.
'Winning would be huge,' said Driscoll, whose last win of any kind came at the 1999 North & South Amateur. 'It feels like I haven't won in forever. That's why everyone plays out here.'
Bolli exploded up the leaderboard as he ran off four straight birdies from the third. That string was halted by a bogey at the seventh.
However, he rebounded with three birdies in a row to get to minus-8. He dropped another stroke at the 12th but Bolli capped his stellar round with back-to-back birdies from the 17th.
Imada burst out of the gate with three straight birdies to climb to minus-5. He dropped in a birdie at the sixth before back-to-back birdies from the eighth moved him to 8 under and the lead.
Around the turn, Imada dropped a shot at the par-3 12th. He got that stroke back with a birdie at the par-3 16th to claim his share of second place.
Watney, who led after Round 1 and shared the lead after two rounds, was 4 over on his round after a double bogey at the 11th. He came back with birdies on Nos. 12 and 14, then eagled the closing hole to climb back to even par for his round.
'I was nervous at the start and I wasn't quite focused on hitting shots and playing golf,' said Watney. 'I was thinking a lot about where I was, looking at boards and stuff. I got out of my routine. I thought I better do something soon.'
John Elliott shot a 1-under 71 to move to 6-under-par 210 where he stands alone in 10th place. Sean O'Hair, Tjaart van der Walt and Ben Bates are one stroke further back at minus-5.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - First Tee Arkansas Classic
  • Full Coverage - First Tee Arkansas Classic