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Race to the Finish at Doral

MIAMI -- Australia's Craig Parry posted a 5-under 67 on Saturday to take the 54-hole lead at the Ford Championship at Doral. He stands at 13-under-par 203 and owns a one-shot lead over Gene Sauers and Scott Verplank.
Phil Mickelson birdied the famous 'Blue Monster,' Doral's lengthened par-4 closing hole to shoot a 3-under 69. He is tied for fourth place with David Toms (65), K.J. Choi (66), Danny Ellis (67), Joe Durant (67) and Chris DiMarco (67).
Scoring was much better on Saturday than the previous two rounds thanks to less wind. Only 15 of the 79 players who teed it up in the third round failed to break par.
Parry took advantage of the conditions early Saturday with a 13-foot birdie putt at the second. He made it two in a row with a 17-footer at No. 3, then added his third birdie of the round at the fifth, this time from 10 feet.
Parry tied for the lead at the par-5 10th. He drove into the right rough, then laid up with his second. Parry knocked his third to 11 feet and sank the birdie putt to reach 12-under par.
The Australian took sole possession of first at the 11th when he drained a six-foot birdie putt. He collected his third birdie in a row at 12 to go two clear of the field.
Problems arose for Parry. He drove into a bunker on the left side of the fairway at 16 but was able to save par. Parry found a trap on the right side at No. 17 and was unable to recover. He knocked his second 28 feet short of the hole and ran his four-foot par save by the hole on the right.
Parry parred the diabolical 18th to maintain his spot atop the leaderboard.
'I didn't think I'd play as well as I have,' said Parry, who tied for eighth in a Nationwide Tour event in Australia two weeks ago. 'I hit the ball well in the Jacob's Creek tournament but my putting wasn't really all that flat. This week I'm starting to hole putts.'
Parry overslept and nearly missed his tee time on Thursday morning. That shouldn't be a problem on Sunday as he is in the last group, scheduled to go off at 1:45 PM(ET).
'I might be able to make the late hit off,' said Parry.
Parry previously held the 54-hole lead four times on tour, including the 1992 Masters. His only win of the group was the 2002 WGC-NEC Invitational, his only title on the PGA Tour but the 38-year-old knows what it will take to visit the winner's circle on Sunday.
'I've got to go out there tomorrow and play really well,' said Parry. 'They're not going to give it to me, I know that. I'll have to shoot under par for sure.'
Sauers, the 2002 Air Canada Championship winner, collected seven birdies on his round and picked up No. 8 with a seven-footer for birdie at the 16th. That got him to 12 under for the tournament, where he would stay after his third-round 64.
Verplank, a Ryder Cupper for the American side in 2002, tallied six birdies and a bogey on his front side to move up the leaderboard. He holed a 15-foot birdie putt at the 11th, then got to minus-12 with a long birdie putt at the 17th.
'When we started out today, the wind was not blowing,' said Verplank, who fired a 65 on Saturday. 'It was there for the taking. I think it's going to take something similar to today.'
Overnight leader Retief Goosen could not get anything going on Saturday. He stuck his approach to six feet at the last for a 1-under 71 and that extended his streak of rounds of under par or better to 28.
The 2001 U.S. Open champion is tied for 10th place with German Alex Cejka, who carded a 3-under 69 in the third round. They are knotted at 10-under-par 206.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Ford Championship
  • Full Coverage - Ford Championship