WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — Harold Varner shot a 4-under 66 Saturday to tie second-round leader Kelly Kraft at the top entering the final round of A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.
Varner had four back-nine birdies after 10 consecutive pars. Kraft led by as many as four strokes but bogeyed two of the final three holes and shot 1-under 69.
Both were at 14-under 196.
Fifteen golfers were within five shots of the lead. Defending champion Xander Schauffele and Kevin Na were at 13 under. Both shot 65.
Kraft and Varner are looking for their first PGA Tour wins in their 85th starts. Since this tournament debuted in 2010, there have been four first-time champions, but no third-round leader has won.
The tournament has been decided by two or fewer strokes every year and has gone to a playoff three times. The 2016 tournament was canceled after devastating floods.
The Old White TPC dried out on a sunny Saturday and scores weren’t as low as the first two days when rains softened the course and yielded eight rounds of 63 or better.
Kraft had a one-stroke lead entering the round, the first time he’s led after 36 holes on the PGA Tour.
He parred every hole on the front nine Saturday and his lead improved to four shots after making birdie putts of 19 feet at No. 10 and 5 feet at No. 12 and holing a 40-foot pitch shot at No. 11.
Then he found two bunkers on the par-5 16th and made bogey, and found the greenside bunker and missed a 5-foot par putt on the par-3 18th.
Kraft finished fifth at last year’s tournament in West Virginia.
Varner’s best finish on Tour was a tie for fifth at the OHL Classic in Mexico in 2016. He has one top-10 finish in each of the past two years and won the Australian PGA Championship in 2016.
Sam Saunders was alone in fifth place at 12 under after a 67.
Bubba Watson shot 65 and was among three players at 11 under. Watson hopes to add this tournament to his three other wins this season.
Watson wants to honor his late father, Gerry, a Green Beret who fought in the Vietnam War. Watson owns a vacation home at The Greenbrier Sporting Club. He and his wife, Angie, contributed significantly both in money and in volunteer work during local relief efforts after June 2016 floods killed 23 people statewide and forced the tournament to be canceled two weeks later.
Anirban Lahiri of India and Webb Simpson trailed Kraft by a stroke entering the third round. Lahiri was bogey-free over the first two rounds but bogeyed the first two holes Saturday, shot 71 and dropped three strokes behind. Simpson shot 76 to fall eight strokes back.
The top four players not already exempt among the top 12 finishers will earn spots in the British Open at Carnoustie starting July 19.