Berger enters ultimate at Honda Basic in full management

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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Daniel Berger wasn’t flawless. He simply stored avoiding huge issues, which just about no person has managed to do at PGA Nationwide this week.

That is why he stays the chief of the Honda Basic.

Berger began with a three-shot lead and ended with a five-shot benefit, after his spherical of 1-under 69 moved him 18 holes away from profitable a event a 15-minute drive from his house.

“I’ve performed some nice golf, however the problem remains to be forward, 18 extra holes,” Berger mentioned. “I’ve acquired to remain targeted on enjoying one other nice spherical tomorrow and if I can do this then I will be holding the trophy on the finish of the day.“

Shane Lowry (67), Chris Kirk (71), Sepp Straka (69) and first-round chief Kurt Kitayama (71) have been tied for second at 6 underneath.

Solely 13 of the 73 gamers who made the reduce shot under par Saturday. No person went low, and until Berger begins making many errors, any individual goes to should on Sunday so as to deny him a fifth PGA Tour victory.

Lowry had the day’s finest spherical — and that was simply 3 underneath.

“I’ve drove the ball in play and I’ve managed to putt fairly good,” Lowry mentioned. “My placing felt fairly common at first of the week. I discovered one thing because the week went on.”

He wants to search out one thing extra.

Or extra particularly, hope that Berger misplaces one thing.

“Clearly you need to exit and catch him tomorrow, however I do not assume you may go and catch anybody on this golf course,” Lowry mentioned. “You simply must do your factor and shoot the perfect rating you may and hopefully it is going to be someplace close to adequate.”

Andrew Kozan, Curtis Thompson, Billy Horschel and Kevin Streelman all shot 68s on Saturday, although in all 4 circumstances, that merely meant simply attending to even par for the week and nowhere close to Berger.

“It performed loads harder as we speak,” Kitayama mentioned.

There have been hints that Berger may come again to the pack, ranging from his first tee shot of the day when he pulled the ball into the left tough. The left tough awaited him on No. 4 as properly, as did a greenside bunker on No. 7.

He saved par every time, and once more on No. 10, when he two-putted from 65 toes to maintain the cardboard flawless. The one mistake got here on the final, his lone bogey of the day.

Kirk was the closest for some time, simply three pictures again as he headed to the par-4 14th. However a visit into the bushes led to a double-bogey, and Berger backed off his putt earlier than coolly rolling in a 5-footer to save lots of par but once more.

Armed with a five-shot lead, Berger went for it on the par-3 fifteenth, the beginning of the three-hole stretch referred to as the “Bear Lure” that sometimes frowns on aggression. He went on the flag, stored the ball under the wind and watched it settle 7 toes from the opening.

The birdie putt was center-cut, getting him to 12 underneath – six pictures forward of the closest challengers at that second.

“I’ve to play nice golf tomorrow to have an opportunity to win,” Berger insisted.

Kozan was maybe the day’s largest success story. He waited 12 hours to play 4 pictures, then performed 68 extra pictures within the subsequent three hours or so.

Kozan stopped play on the par-5 18th fairway Friday night time due to darkness, a sensible transfer since he wanted par to make the reduce. After 5 hours of sleep, he was on the course by 5:40 a.m. Saturday to heat up and resumed play at 6:47. He used a pair quick irons to get to the inexperienced from about 260 yards out, then two-putted for the par that allowed him to make his first PGA Tour reduce.

That was at 6:59. At 7:35, he teed off in a solo group to start the third spherical and at 10:51, he rolled in a 4-footer for birdie to finish a 3rd spherical of two underneath 68.

“Nothing to lose,” Kozan mentioned.

And fairly a bit to realize.

Kozan’s largest test as a professional thus far is $29,333 for ending second final 12 months on the Korn Ferry Tour’s qualifying college. He may high that Sunday; anybody ending alone in forty third or higher on the Honda is assured no less than $30,000, and Kozan was tied for nineteenth.

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