Curtis Strange shot a 68 despite a scrambling start and a shaky finish yesterday in Akron, Ohio, and retained a two-stroke lead after the third round of the $800,000 World Series of Golf.
"I don't feel I played very well, to be honest," Strange said after a bogey on the final hole.
Strange, seeking his third victory this season and the money-winning lead, completed three trips over the Firestone Country Club course in 204, 6 under par.
Davis Love III had a very fast start -- birdies on five of the first seven holes -- and shot 66 for second place at 206 with one round to go in the chase for a $144,000 first prize.
Tom Kite, a veteran who has a history of success on this course, pitched in for an eagle 3 on the 16th hole on the way to the day's low round, a 65, that put him in a tie for third at 208 with Bobby Wadkins and South Africa PGA champion Fulton Allem. Wadkins had a 70 and Allem a 67.
"Curtis is playing well. He's had a tremendous summer," said Kite. "If he continues to play as well as he has, it'll be almost impossible to catch him."
Strange didn't sound as confident: "It seemed I struggled with my game out there. I wasn't that comfortable. I feel very, very fortunate to shoot a 68."
"After that . . . I kind of slapped myself up side the head and said, 'Hey, boy, you got to get going,' " Strange said.
Greg Norman, with a 71 despite severe putting problems, was in a group of seven at even-par 210.
In Jupiter, Fla., Eric Rebmann beat two-time champion Jay Sigel in the quarterfinals and then beat medalist Scott Gump, 5 and 4, in the semifinals to advance to the final match of the 87th championship against Bill Mayfair.
Rebmann, of Plantation, Fla., surprised Sigel, the 1982 and 1983 winner from Berwyn, Pa., 2-up in a morning match. He stopped Gump without losing a hole.
Mayfair, the 1986 U.S. Public Links champion from Phoenix, defeated Stephen Ford, of Melbourne, Fla., 3 and 2, to advance to Sunday's final at the Jupiter Hills Club.
In Chattanooga, Tenn., Robert Thompson had eight birdies in his final 11 holes and finished with an 8-under-par 62 to share a one-stroke lead with Rocco Mediate after three rounds of the $450,000 event.
Thompson, a little-known pro from Huntsville, Tex., tied the tournament record for best round to catch second-round leader Mediate of Greensburg, Pa. The two have three-round totals of 198 on the 6,641-yard, par-70 Valleybrook Golf and Country Club course.