Reed grabs PGA lead but Noh, Leishman give chase
Patrick Reed, seeking his fourth title in 10 months, fired a par 71 Saturday to seize a two-stroke lead after the third round of the $6.5 million PGA National.
The 23-year-old American, who notably proclaimed himself one of the top five players in the world after winning at Doral in March, stood on six-under 207 after 54 holes at Congressional Country Club.
"I`m in a great position," Reed said. "Anytime you are in the lead going into Sunday you feel pretty well."
South Korean Noh Seung-Yul, Australian Marc Leishman and Sweden`s Freddie Jacobson shared second on 209 with England`s Justin Rose, Zimbabwe`s Brendon de Jonge and Americans Ben Martin, Richard Lee, Hudson Swafford and Shawn Stefani sharing fifth on 210.
Reed converted his three prior 54-hole leads into PGA titles, winning last August at Greensboro, the Humana Challenge last January and at Doral three months ago.
Since dubbing himself a world top-five player, 29th-ranked Reed has missed five cuts in eight events with a best finish of 35th at the US Open, but he has also become a father, his wife and caddy Justine giving birth to a daughter.
"After we played Doral, I was more focused on making sure Justine was all right and making sure the baby was fine," he said. "Family comes first, so I was more focusing on that."
As for criticism over his top-five remark, Reed said, "I`m fine. Doesn`t bother me.
"I haven`t had anything negative said from the guys out here. They all believe in themselves... You can`t play this game with lack of confidence."
Reed birdied the fourth and fifth holes, took bogeys at seven and eight and the par-3 13th but put his approach to two feet to set up a birdie at the par-5 16th.
Noh, who began the day seven strokes off the lead, fired a 66 for the day`s low round to make the final pairing Sunday. His six birdies included a 66-foot chip-in at nine.
"One chip-in and a lot of birdies," Noh said. "Firm and fast, a little tough but very good scoring."
Noh, 23, won his first US PGA title at New Orleans in April and likes his chances over the 7,569-yard layout.
"It`s long but I like a long course," Noh said. "It`s a good advantage for me."
Leishman, 30, made bogeys at the par-3 second and 10th, made a 12-foot birdie at the 14th but took a bogey at 17.
"It feels a bit like a US Open," said Leishman of a course that hosted the major event in 2011 and 1997. "Happy to be in the position I am. Putted very ordinary. Hopefully I`ll roll them all in tomorrow."
Jacobson, 39, won his first pro title at the 2002 Hong Kong Open but his only title in 11 US PGA seasons came at the 2011 Travelers Championship.
He sizzled on the front nine, sinking three birdie putts from beyond 25 feet, but fizzled on the back side, a watery bogey at 10 followed by a double bogey at 11 and bogey at 13.
"I played awesome on the front nine, put myself in position," Jacobson said.
"I was indecisive on 10, just quit on the swing and it was wet. That tested me all the rest of the back nine."
Rose, trying to win for the first time since his dramatic US Open triumph in June of last year, was three-under after seven holes but settled for a 71.
"I drove the ball incredibly well and gave myself an opportunity," Rose said. "I need to go and play a great round."