Hal Sutton chipped into the hole for eagle on the 15th hole and survived a three-putt 18th green for 69 today to keep his six-stroke lead heading into Sunday's final round of the $350,000 Anheuser Busch Classic at Kingsmill. Sutton's 54-hole total is 201.
Defending champion Calvin Peete and Payne Stewart each shot 66 and stand at 207.
Sutton, winner of the Tournament Players Championship and the PGA Tour's leading money winner with $277,384, made two bogeys for a front-nine one-over-par 37, but got back to even par for the day with an eight-foot birdie putt at the 10th hole. He then birdied the par-4 12th hole after hitting his approach shot two feet from the hole.
At the 506-yard, par-5 15th, Sutton went for the green with a long iron for his second shot and the ball stopped pin high, six feet to the left of the green. Sutton chipped from 30 feet and the ball rolled into the hole for eagle 3.
Sutton parred 16 and 17, but then almost four-putted the double-tiered 18th green. On the par-4, 408-yard hole, Sutton hit his approach onto the green, 40 feet past the hole, on the upper level of the green; the pin was on the lower level.
He tried to hit his first putt so that the ball would barely reach the top of the hill and roll gently down the slope to the hole. But the putt stayed on the upper level, 20 feet short of the cup.
His second putt went four feet beyond the hole. He used all of the cup to make his finishing bogey.
"No one got anything started early, which was good for me. I was very tentative on the front side, but no one was making much of a move," said Sutton, who took the lead of this event by six strokes with a second-round 65. "I was very pleased with the way I hit it today, but I missed putt after putt."
Peete, victor by two shots here last year, appeared to put himself out of it after a 75 Friday. He started the day nine shots behind Sutton, but made seven birdies today.
"I putted about as well as I have all year," said Peete, winner of four PGA Tour events last year and one this year (Atlanta).
"I don't count myself out until it's over. A lot of things can still happen," Peete said.
Stewart, a streaky player like Peete, made six birdies.
Phil Hancock (68) and Scott Simpson (70) were tied for fourth at 208, followed by Tim Norris (68) and Leonard Thompson (68) at 209.
Richmond native Lanny Wadkins, passed by Sutton a month ago for the money lead, made seven birdies and an eagle for a course-record 63 and stands at 210 with D.A. Weibring and Bruce Lietzke, both of whom shot 70.
Wadkins, who barely made the cut of 147 after a second-round 76, pulled from 15 shots behind Sutton to within seven before the leader teed off. He shot a six-under-par 29 on the back nine, including an eagle on the par-5 15th, which he hit in two shots.
Wadkins' emergence was so swift his name was not on the leader board. "Hey, put Lanny on the board," yelled one of his faithful followers.
Sutton made his first bogey of the tournament on the par-5 third hole, but got back to par with a four-foot birdie putt at the par-5 seventh hole, which he almost reached in two shots. On the troublesome 413-yard, par-4 eighth, Sutton took his second bogey. He hit his approach shot just over the green, chipped to four feet from the hole but missed.
He saved par from a greenside bunker at nine and held a three-shot lead at that time over the charging Peete and a five-shot lead over Simpson, playing in Sutton's group, and Jodie Mudd, playing in the group immediately in front of him. Sutton pulled away on the back nine with his two birdies and eagle.
Lanny Wadkins' younger brother Bobby, winner of the recent Virginia PGA Open, shot a 66 and stands at 213. The Wadkins brothers' best ball was 59.
Mike Sullivan, who shot 67 Friday and was seven shots behind Sutton, was forced to withdraw today with an ailing back.
Lee Elder, the only Washington-area player to make the 36-hole cut, shot 78 and is at 224.