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3 things to know after Round 3 of the Honda Classic

daniel berger reads putt

We are through 54 holes at the Honda Classic, and storylines abound on the crowded leaderboard. From grizzled veterans looking to recapture a spark to journeymen pros making their first PGA Tour starts, there is plenty to like about the board heading into the final round. Here are three things to know after Saturday’s third round in Florida.

Complete leaderboard here.

Daniel Berger holds a commanding lead

Saturday ended much the way it began — with Daniel Berger at the top of the leaderboard. Following a one-under 69 in Round 3, Berger holds the 54-hole lead at PGA National as he searches for his fifth PGA Tour victory.

“I’ve played some great golf but the challenge is still ahead,” Berger said. “I’ve got to stay focused on playing another great round tomorrow and if I can do that then I’ll be holding the trophy at the end of the day.”

Berger began the day with a lead, and even with difficult Moving Day conditions he was able to maintain separation from the field. He carded two birdies against just one bogey on the day to secure his third consecutive under-par round, and will begin the day five shots ahead of his nearest competitors.

“There’s 18 more holes to go and I have to play great golf tomorrow to have a chance to win,” he said. “I’m just going to stay patient and stay consistent and try to do as much fairways and greens as possible and that should be a good key to success.”

If he can replicate his success over the first three rounds, Sunday could be a coronation for Berger.

Major champ in the mix

Five strokes behind Berger there is a logjam in second place, featuring four players tied at six under, including Shane Lowry, Chris Kirk, Kurt Kitayama and Sepp Straka.

Lowry played his way into the mix on Saturday with a three-under 67, good for the round of the day, which will put him in the final pairing on Sunday.

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“[I] feel like my game’s in good shape,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of going out trying to win a PGA Tour event tomorrow.”

Lowry is looking for his first Tour victory since the 2019 Open Championship.

“I just need to focus back on myself and worry about what I’m doing,” he said. ” I think if I could shoot another 67 or maybe even one better tomorrow you never know I might not be far away.”

Plenty to play for

Martin Contini finds himself nine shots behind Berger heading into the final round, but he still has plenty to play for. The Monday qualifier is making his PGA Tour debut this week, and if he can finish inside the top 10 will earn a start in next week’s Puerto Rico Open, a fact of which he is well aware.

“It would mean the world,” Contini said. “I’m supposed to be resting this week for the next Korn Ferry Tour event but I’m happy to be here and I would be glad to be in Puerto Rico next week.”

If Contini is able to make a move on Sunday, it will not only mean more Tour starts, but also a huge paycheck to boot — critical for a third-year pro.

“We were talking with my team and I wanted to set some goals for the weekend,” he said. “The cut was great, but I didn’t want it to stop there, so I’m going to try to reach the top 5 tomorrow.”

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