2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson will be looking for his eighth PGA Tour victory and his first since 2010 when he heads into Sunday's final round of the RBC Heritage tournament on Hilton Head Island.
The John Deere Classic board member and Cedar Rapids, Ia. native is in third place, four shots off the lead, after having shot 5-under par 66 Saturday with four birdies, an eagle, and only one bogey on Pete Dye's demanding Harbour Town course. He trails leader Carl Pettersson, at 12-under, and Colt Knost, at minus 11.
"I'm certainly not I'm not going to get too ahead of myself," Zach said after his third round. "I've still got 18 holes. The last four or five holes, if I'm near the lead, we can get after it a little bit. But I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. You can't go out and shoot 64 or 65, you've just got to play. It doesn't work like that at Hilton Head and Harbour Town. There's so much trouble out there lurking. Smallest greens on TOUR, probably the smallest fairways on TOUR. So controlling your trajectory and controlling your spin is a premium."
Zach's third-round fireworks started when he eagled the par 5 fifth, sinking a 40-foot putt after hitting his 250-yard second shot onto the green.
"I hit a good drive," he said. "I was kind of in, maybe a little bit off the right. Hit a good drive, like 250 to the hole, 251 to the hole, 230 to the front. It's an pin back left where you don't really want to hit it left. You can't hit it left. You're going to make a 5, probably at best. And I hit a great 3-wood that clipped the top of the tree, right in the middle of the green, clipped the top of the tree. Somehow it released onto the green and trickled on the fringe, I had 35 to 40 feet. It was not going to be short, because it hit the back of the hole and popped out at one end. I'll take it."
Zach's only bogey of the day came at the par 3 seventh after which he birdied four of his last 11 holes, including the daunting 18th.
"That was a treat," Zach said. "The 18th hole is not any bargain. I was aggressive off the tee. Looking back on it, I should have hit a 3 wood, but I cut a driver out there, and hit a nice
9- iron into about eight, ten feet. That's the one I'm going to try to right tomorrow."
Pettersson and Knost played in the final pairing together Saturday - Knost was leading at the start of the round - and the twosome proved to be a nice combination of girth and mirth.
"Two fat guys played in three hours, 48 minutes," said Pettersson, who joked with Knost throughout the round. "That was pretty good. But we had a good time." Pettersson, a four-time PGA Tour winner, shot 5-under 66 and also birdied the 18th to Knost's 2-under 69. Knost is looking for his first PGA Tour victory.
They will be paired together again Sunday.
One shot behind Zach is Boo Weekley, who has won the event twice, in 2007 and 2008.