(Reuters) - Billy Hurley III moved within sight of his first PGA Tour victory when he opened a two-stroke lead over Angel Cabrera after the third round at The Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia on Saturday.
American Hurley carded a tidy three-under-par 67 in delightful conditions on Greenbrier’s Old White course in White Sulphur Springs, but Cabrera loomed large, moving into second place with a sizzling 64.
The Argentine veteran has won two major titles, the 2007 U.S. Open and 2009 Masters, but has never captured a regular tour event.
American Kevin Chappell (69) was alone in third, three strokes behind, while seven others trailed Hurley by four strokes.
“I’m excited to have a chance to win. I just have to do my thing, be Billy Hurley,” the leader told PGATour.com after posting a 12-under 198 total. Hurley, unlike the long-hitting Cabrera, relies on precision rather than power, and he has played to his strength this week in his 59th start on tour.
“I hit it out of the middle of the (club)face all day, drove it really well, hit a lot of quality shots,” he continued. “That’s a nice way to play golf, not scrambling around but just trying to see how many putts we can make.” “I’m not the longest hitter on tour, probably one of the shorter hitters but I keep it pretty straight and if we can do that again tomorrow we’ll have a really good chance to win.”
But he will have to contend with Cabrera, a man for the big occasion who has played nearly 200 regular tour events without victory.
“I’ve just got to keep waiting, keep working and it will happen,” said Cabrera, who was on the course when he found out his countrymen had won their World Cup quarter-final match against Belgium. “I had already started with three birdies (in four holes), so my happiness was complete.”
He also finished strongly, curling in a 28-footer for birdie at the 16th before hitting a deft pitch to set up another birdie at the par-five 17th. Eight-time major champion Tom Watson, 64, came within four strokes of matching his age to improve to equal 43rd on three-under.
“I'm getting better at the birdies. I made two the first day three the second day and four today,” Watson said.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry)