Parnevik leads Gronberg by 3 at Texas Open

Jesper Parnevik
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Jesper Parnevik hasn't won since the 2001 Honda Classic.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — It has been 6 1/2 years since Jesper Parnevik won on the PGA Tour. But he hasn't forgotten the feeling.

"The way I remember, it was a lot easier to win tournaments than it was out there today," Parnevik said.

Parnevik moved a step closer to his first victory since 2001, shooting a 4-under 66 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Texas Open.

The 42-year-old Swede had an 18-under 192 total on the LaCantera Golf Club Resort Course after opening with rounds of 61 and 65. He won the last of his five PGA Tour titles in the 2001 Honda Classic.

Fellow Swede Mathias Gronberg was 15 under after a 65. Texan Justin Leonard, the 2000 and '01 winner, was 14 under after a 64, and Ryan Armour (64), Daniel Chopra (64), Shigeki Maruyama (65) and Chris Stroud (64) followed at 12 under.

Gronberg, in his fourth full season on the PGA Tour, was a 15-year-old caddy for Parnevik at the 1985 Swedish Match Play Championship.

Leonard also has some history with Parnevik. He won his only major championship when he came from five shots behind third-rounder leader Parnevik to win the 1997 British Open Championship at Troon.

"(His) lead is not insurmountable," Leonard said. "Jesper obviously shot 9 under the first day and backed it pretty well the last two rounds. But if he continues to play the way he is, he's probably out too far."

Because of the long time since his last win, Parnevik said he had some doubts in his game even though he entered the round with a four-shot lead.

"It was tough out there, I thought, for me," he said. "I was not very relaxed over the shots or the putts. Now, when I haven't played that great for a while, it's a lot tougher because those bad shots seem to stick in your mind somewhere."

Parnevik had six birdies, with only two of the putts from more than 10 feet.

"Jesper hit a lot of shots close to the pin," said Gronberg, who played in the same group. "So the main thing for me is to go out and play like I did today."

Parnevik led by five early with a birdie at the first. But a bogey at the second, and a Gronberg birdie putt from the fringe, cut it to three.

Both bogeyed the 10th hole, but Parnevik regained the stroke with a 2-foot putt at the 428-yard 11th, set up by a 345-yard drive down hill.

It was the first in a three-birdie string. At the 12th, Parnevik hit his 138-yard approach to 3 feet and made another birdie. That put him four ahead again.

Leonard made his second birdie in four holes, a 16-footer that was pin high at No. 11. But he missed an opportunity when his 5-foot birdie putt lipped out on 12.

Gronberg answered Parnevik's play with birdies on four of five holes, capped by a 12-footer on No. 16.

"Mathias was playing great, Justin Leonard was playing great, a lot of guys were playing great in front of me," Parnevik said. "I'm playing very well, but it's going to be a tough day (in the final round) — no doubt about it."

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