Fred Funk needed a late rally on a sticky, steamy day to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Buick Championship in Cromwell, Conn.
With 20 players within four strokes of the lead, the 48-year-old Ryder Cup rookie will have to hold off a gang of players today to pick up his first win in six years.
The second-round co-leader, Funk shot a 1-under-par 69 and is 9 under for the tournament. He was just ahead of Tom Byrum and first-round leader Corey Pavin. Joey Sindelar and Hunter Mahan were two strokes back and nine others, including Skip Kendall and Hank Kuehne, are at 6-under after three rounds.
Shade was hard to come by at the TPC at River Highlands and, in the muggy conditions, games began to wilt, including Funk's. He and rookie Zach Johnson began the day at 8 under, but after starting out with two straight birdies, Funk lost the lead at the turn when he bogeyed three of the last four holes on the front.
Johnson dropped quickly with a bogey and double bogey in the first four holes and finished with a 73.
Byrum made his move early with four birdies through 11. With Funk struggling, Byrum grabbed a one-stroke lead with a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 and followed up with his fourth birdie of the day to improve to 9-under.
Byrum bogeyed two of the last five holes, including No. 17, the signature water hole, and finished with 67.
Funk righted himself on the back nine with three birdies, regaining the lead with a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 17.
* LPGA TOUR: Grace Park closed with an eagle and two birdies for a 7-under-par 65 and a two-stroke lead after three rounds of the Wachovia LPGA Classic at Berkleigh Country Club in Kutztown, Pa.
Park's 17-under 199 is a 54-hole record at the event, two strokes better than Michelle Ellis's 201 in 2002.
Second-round leader Jill McGill is one stroke behind after a 2-under 70, and Soo Yun Kang (68) is another shot back at 201. Laura Diaz (67) is three strokes off the pace, and Nancy Scranton (67) and Lorena Ochoa (69) are at 204.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Aloha, Ore., Vicente Fernandez birdied the final hole for a 6-under 66 and a share of the third-round lead with Peter Jacobsen at 12 under in the Tradition, the last major of the year.
Jacobsen, the second-round leader, shot a 69. Allen Doyle shot a 64 to reach 11 under on the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club course.
* EUROPEAN TOUR: Thomas Levet shot a 9-under 63 and shared the third-round lead with Miguel Angel Jimenez at the BMW International Open in Nord Eichenried, Germany.
Jimenez of Spain had a 67 and was at 15-under 201 with Levet, a Frenchman who missed the course record by a stroke. Two strokes behind were South Africa's Retief Goosen (68) and Austria's Markus Brier (67).