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Stefani Offsets Quad with Eight Birdies to Set Pace in FedEx St. Jude Classic
Despite a quadruple-bogey on the par-3 11th hole, Shawn Stefani still managed to fire a 4-under 66 to take the 54-hole lead in the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The $5.7 million PGA Tour event is taking place at TPC Southwind in Memphis.
Stefani, a 31-year-old Texan and a Tour rookie, offset that big slip with eight birdies - including three straight to close out his round - to reach 12-under 198, one shot ahead of 36-hole leader Harris English (69) and four in front of Patrick Reed (64), Nicholas Thompson (66) and Scott Stallings (67). Reed's 6-under effort was Saturday's low round.
Stefani's misstep occurred when he hit his tee ball into the water - followed by two bunker shots - which surprised him. "It's funny. I actually hit a good shot. Pulled the wrong club with the wind," he said.
Lurking five back of Stefani are Phil Mickelson (65) and rookie Eric Meierdierks, who carded a 66.
After opening with a 1-over 71, Mickelson has gradually improved as the tournament's progressed; he shot 67 Friday. "I've played better each round and I'm encouraged by that," said Mickelson, who carded an eagle, six birdies and three bogeys in the third round. "I had a few bogeys and I left a few birdies go, let a few shots slide."
Sharing eighth at 6-under 204 are Ireland's Padraig Harrington (65) and Americans Ryan Palmer (65) and Robert Castro (67).
Defending champion Dustin Johnson carded a 68 and is now in 11th at 205 with England's Ian Poulter (68) and Americans Jonathan Byrd (66), John Rollins (67), Ben Crane (68), Justin Hicks (69) and Paul Haley II (70).
Justin Leonard, who won the tournament in 2005 and '08 - the latter being the most recent of his 12 career victories, carded a 66 and is tied with 16 others at 4-under 206.
For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.