Los Angeles: Henrik Stenson, who is looking for his first win since capturing the British Open last year, fired his second straight 66 to seize a one-stroke lead at the Wyndham Championship.
The former world No. 1 Stenson finished strong with four birdies in his final six holes to reach 16-under 194 at the US PGA Tour event at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Americans Kevin Na (65), second round co-leader Webb Simpson (68) and Ollie Schniederjans (66) were tied for second just one shot back at 15-under 195.
Johnson Wagner shot a five-under 65 and was tied for fifth, two strokes adrift of Stenson.
Showing why he is the highest-ranked player in the tournament, Sweden’s Stenson finished the way he started his round, with string of four birdies over six holes.
He had back-to-back birdies on the second and third hole and No. 5 and No. 6. sandwiched in between was a bogey on the par-four fourth.
Playing for the first time at the Wyndham, Stenson has adapted well to the fast greens. It showed on the par-four sixth as he drained a 17-foot slightly downhill putt into the centre of the cup.
His biggest stumble of the day was a double bogey on the par-three seventh hole.
He recovered on the back with a late charge that he kicked off with a birdie on No. 13. Stenson also birdied 14, 15 and 17 and then parred 18 to finish with the lead.
If Stenson holds on Sunday it will be his first title since claiming his first major win at the 2016 British Open at Royal Troon. He tied for 11th at this year’s Open.
He has finished in the top 10 just two times this year, a second at the WGC-HSBC Championship and a seventh place finish at the Valspar Championship.
Former US Open champion Simpson is playing some inspired golf in front of his home fans. The Carolina native collected the first of his four USPGA Tour wins here five years ago.
He hit his 136-yard approach on the par-four second hole to 15 feet then made the birdie putt to get to 14-under on the tournament.
Unlike Stenson, Simpson is relying on familiarity with the event. The 2011 tournament winner is in good position to make a Sunday charge.
Na has been one of the most steady golfers on the Tour over the past few years but has been unable to translate consistency into a win. Na is one shot back after finishing with six birdies and one bogey as he tries to win for the first time in over five years.
Fountain of youth
Davis Love shot a three-under 67 and is three shots back in a tie for sixth with Richy Werenski (64) and Harold Varner (66). At age 53, Love is trying to become the oldest winner in the PGA Tour’s history, supplanting Sam Snead who won the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open at age 52 and 10 months.
Love won this event two years ago at Sedgefield to become the third oldest player to win a Tour event.
A win would also give Love the record for most years between first and last Tour wins — 30 years since his 1997 RBC Heritage victory.