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Na settles for 69, 2-shot Colonial lead over Spieth, Furyk

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — If Jordan Spieth thinks a winless streak approaching two years seems like forever, he might want to check with fellow major winner Jim Furyk.

Both have a chance to end droughts at Colonial — if they can overtake third-round leader Kevin Na.

Na settled for a 1-under 69 a day after going low at Colonial again, taking a two-shot lead at 9 under Saturday over a group that included the local favorite in Spieth and Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who hasn’t won in four years.

“I’m not really looking at it as like the glass is half empty, the hourglass has almost run out of sand,” said the 49-year-old Furyk, who has just one of his 17 PGA Tour victories in the past nine years but was second at the Players Championship in March. “This year has been kind of a new lease on life.”

Furyk, winless since 2015 at Hilton Head, matched the 68 of Spieth, whose last victory was his third major title at the 2017 British Open. Joining them at 7 under was C.T. Pan, who was tied with Na before bogeys on the final two holes. Pan settled for a 68 as well.

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First-round leader Tony Finau (71) fell into the group at 7 under with a bogey on 18 after hitting his driver into the water. Defending champion Justin Rose, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 3, shot his second 74 in three rounds and is 5 over.

Na recovered from a double bogey at the par-5 11th that cost him the lead, steadying himself over the final seven holes. His 62 in the second round was his third at least that low over a span of six rounds at Colonial.

After hitting driver into a bunker at 11, Na’s second shot caught the lip of the bunker as he turned in frustration because a fan’s cellphone went off during his swing. Caddy Kenny Harms lambasted the woman, and Na said he was upset until he saw the horrified look on her face.

“He was screaming at her, and he has every right to do so,” Na said. “I felt bad for the lady. So I said, ‘C’mon Kenny. Let’s forget about it. Let’s just go.'”

Only problem was, Na couldn’t seem to shake it. His third shot landed in a greenside bunker, and the fourth sailed over the green. A chip shot still didn’t reach the green, before another chip lipped out.

Na made the short putt for a 7 before almost making a chip for birdie on 12 after another poor tee shot. His third and final birdie was an 18-footer on the par-3 13th.

“Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get yourself together after something like that happens and you make a double bogey,” said Na, who finished fourth at last year’s Colonial after tying the course record with a final-round 61. “I think I played pretty solid the rest of the way in.”

Birdies among the leaders were fairly scarce with most of them playing in windy conditions that have made afternoon rounds difficult all week on the cozy course made famous by Ben Hogan.

Second-round leader Jonas Blixt didn’t have any, opening with a bogey on the easy par-5 first before three more in his 74. He is four shots back.

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The best rounds came from players with earlier tee times. Mackenzie Hughes shot 65 to join Spieth, Furyk and company. Charley Hoffman had the day’s best round at 7-under 63 and was tied at 6 under with Austin Cook, who shot 65.

Spieth had all three of his birdies on the front nine, barely missing one on the back when his long chip at the par-3 16th lipped out. The 2016 Colonial champ, who was runner-up the years before and after that title, had his only bogey at 17, one of the 10 fairways he missed in 14 tries.

“I’d like to hit more greens in regulation, and in order to do that, I’ve probably got to be playing out of more fairways,” said Spieth, coming off a tie for third at the PGA Championship for his first top-20 finish of the season. “It just comes down to ball-striking.”

Pan, a month removed from his first career PGA Tour win at Hilton Head, recorded four birdies over the first 10 holes and held the lead alone after Na’s double bogey. The native of Taiwan avoided a double by making a testy putt on 17 before missing a short par attempt at 18.

“I’m sure the experience at RBC (Heritage) helped me to get here,” said Pan, who overtook third-round leader Dustin Johnson for that win. “I feel more comfortable on Sunday for sure. I know what I need to do in order to become the leader.”

Spieth and Furyk know that feeling. It’s just been awhile.

___

For more AP golf coverage: https://apnews.com/apf-Golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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