REUTERS - American John Mallinger cooled off from his impressive opening two days but still holds a two-shot lead after Saturday’s third round of the Frys.com Open in San Martin, California.
After playing bogey-free golf in the opening two rounds in search of a maiden win on the U.S. PGA tour, Mallinger posted two bogeys on Saturday but made three birdies for a one-under par 70, to finish on 15-under 198 at CordeValle Golf Club.
The 33-year-old leads from Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, who made six birdies in his final 10 holes to shoot a 66, at 13-under-par.
Americans Charles Howell III (66) and Jason Kokrak (67) are three off the pace in a tie for third at 12-under while former world number one Fijian Vijay Singh (66) joins Brazil’s Alexandre Rocha (66) tied for fifth at 11-under.
”I just didn’t have it all today,“ Mallinger said. ”I didn’t drive it as well as I did yesterday. I think I hit every fairway yesterday, and then today I just got off to a weird start.
“But I hung around there and made some birdies on the back nine that got me back into position. Still got the lead, still got a good spot, and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Despite a nice opening cushion Mallinger has vowed to stay assertive on the final day, expecting plenty of players to make a run with low rounds.
“I‘m going to still stay aggressive and try to make as many birdies as possible,” he said.
“It’s going to be a birdie day. If I can go out and shoot three or four under, then we will see if those guys can catch me.”
Singh, a veteran with 34 PGA Tour wins, is looking for his first since 2008, with his best finish in 2012 a tie for seventh at the Canadian Open, one of four top 10s this season.
Singh said his putting had let him down on the weekends so far this year but was confident he’d found a solution.
He charged into contention with three birdies and an eagle in his last seven holes.
“I‘m playing well. I found something in my putting that’s working really, really good, so hopefully tomorrow I can get something going,” Singh said.
”The problem (this year) was my putting on the weekend. I felt really weird with my putting stroke.
“But this week has been looking good. I’ve changed my grip a little bit and it’s flowing really freely. So that’s a big plus.”
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury