Stricker Stays Steady with Another 3-Under Showing


Always a model of consistency, Steve Stricker shot a 3-under par 69 Saturday at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, putting himself in position to win his 13th PGA Tour title in Sunday's final round.

It was the third straight round in the 60s for Stricker, who sits at 13-under par through 54 holes and trails leader Jason Dufner by four strokes.  In second place is Graham DeLaet, at 15-under, who trails Dufner by two.  Veterans Ernie Els and John Rollins are in third at 14-under.  Stricker is tied for fifth at 13-under with Ryan Palmer, who shot a course-record-tying 64 Saturday, and Cameron Tringale, now in his third year on Tour.

"I had some opportunities again today," Stricker said.  "I hit a lot of good putts, too, over the edges.  Starting to get a little frustrating at times but hung in there and made a couple of birdies on 15 and 18...I got an opportunity tomorrow."

The three-time John Deere Classic defending champion made three birdies and a bogey on the front nine to turn in 34 and made two birdies and a bogey to finish a 1-under 35. He also bogeyed No. 12 for the second straight day.

Stricker said more he's more concerned about the number of players between him and Dufner than in the number of strokes that separate the two players. 
 
 "The number of people in between the leader and myself [is more important than the number of shots behind]," Stricker said.   "There's not that many.  It's going to be tough tomorrow.  This is a course where there's some trouble out there and if you're playing around the lead or in the lead, sometimes you're going to play a little more cautious."

Dufner, who finished runner up to Keegan Bradley at last year's PGA Championship, is looking for his first PGA Tour victory, as is DeLaet.

Both face stiff competition from some veterans who've been there before.

"Ernie is up there, John Rollins is up there, Dufner is playing great, " Stricker said.   "He hasn't won yet.  He's going to be fighting some nerves coming down the stretch tomorrow and so will I.  It's a nerve-wracking situation but that's part of the fun, too."




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