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Flesch's lead grows to 5 strokes at Reno

"I hit 6-iron into No. 9 today and it's a 615-yard, par 5," Merrick said. "The winds all over the place. ... One second it's downwind. The next second it's into the wind."

Allan agreed.

"There's an element of luck out there because the way the wind swirls it's impossible to pick (clubs) sometimes," he said. "You can be penalized for some shots that aren't bad shots."

Fischer, who missed the cut in his only two PGA outings this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach and the U.S. Open, is playing on a sponsor's exemption. He said he treats this tournament as his "No. 1 major."

"It was the only one I was looking forward to all year because I knew I was in it," he said.

Flesch said his wedge play has kept him out of trouble all week. He missed the par-3 second hole long Saturday but chipped up to 4 feet and made the putt to save par. He missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the next hole, then made one from 9 feet for a birdie on the par-4 fifth.

Flesch gave the stroke back on the 220-yard seventh when he hit 3 feet past the green into the rough, chipped to 9 feet and missed his par putt. He had a chance for a birdie on the ninth, but his 3-footer went 180 degrees around the cup before lipping out.

"Whenever you are putting and the wind is blowing that hard it's hard to keep a good rhythm. I hit it hard and spun it around. Those things happen," he said.

Flesch opened the back nine with consecutive birdies from 3 feet and 9 feet, but had a 3-putt bogey on the par-3 12th before closing with 5-foot birdie putts on each of the last two holes.

Two years ago at Reno, Allan led by two heading to the final hole but missed a 4-foot bogey putt for the victory. He said it will be difficult to catch the leader on Sunday.

"For him, I think a par round would be pretty good and make it tough on us," Allan said.

Flesch, for one, hopes the wind blows just as hard.

"If I go out there tomorrow and the wind doesn't blow, it brings a whole lot more guys back into it," he said.

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