(Reuters) - Chesson Hadley used a superb putting display to charge up the third-round leaderboard at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Forth Worth, Texas on Saturday before overnight leader Harold Varner III even teed off.
Hadley opened his round with four consecutive birdies and added another at the eighth and 11th holes en route to a bogey-free, six-under par 64 at Colonial Country Club that left him three shots back of Varner.
American Hadley, who has not won on the PGA Tour since his maiden triumph in 2014, showed his intentions early on the spectator-free course as his approach shot from a greenside bunker settled two feet from the cup.
After making birdie putts of 16 feet and seven feet at the next two holes Hadley then converted a 43-yard putt at the par-three fourth to reach four under on the day after only four holes.
Hadley, who missed the cut in his previous two starts before the PGA Tour halted action due to the COVID-19 outbreak, was a model of precision as he hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation and did not miss any putts within 10 feet.
Varner, who is one shot clear of Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau, is among the late starters.
World number one Rory McIlroy, who is two shots back of Varner, is scheduled to tee off at 1:50 p.m. ET (1750 GMT).
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Hugh Lawson