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Talor Gooch atop RSM Classic, first 3-round lead of his career

Talor Gooch atop RSM Classic, first 3-round lead of his career

Talor Gooch fired a 3-under 67 on Saturday and holds a three-shot lead after three rounds of the RSM Classic at Sea Island, Ga.

Gooch has a 54-hole score of 16-under 196 in windy conditions at Sea Island Golf Club. It marks the first time he has ever led a event after three rounds.

Seamus Power of Ireland and Sebastian Munoz of Colombia are tied for second at 13 under. Tom Hoge is another shot back in fourth.

Gooch, who had four birdies and one bogey in the third round, is looking for his first career victory in 104 starts.

He said he won’t be feeling pressure to end the drought.

“If you don’t enjoy pressure, you’re in the wrong sport,” Gooch said.

Gooch finished strong on Saturday with birdies on two of the last four holes. He hit 14 of 18 greens on the Seaside Course.

“It’s easy to try to stay level par,” Gooch said. “And to be frank, what you’re trying to do out there is avoid bogeys. It would have been easy today at times, like I said, to just really get conservative and really be defensive.

“And while I was being very conservative at times, I was still able to stay aggressive, the mentality of trying to extend what I have rather than just maintaining and that’s not easy to do.”

Power’s round of 67 was highlighted by an eagle on the par-5, 15th hole. Power earned the eagle by knocking in a chip from more than 33 feet.

“Yeah, struck it nicely, landed on my spot,” Power said. “I thought it was actually going to blow, like the wind was going to blow it, maybe miss it right, but it stayed straight and just kind of caught the edge of the hole.

“Yeah, it was nice, a huge bonus, obviously, on a day like today to pick up the two shots.”

Power also had three birdies and two bogeys in Saturday’s round.

Munoz, who opened with a scintillating 60 before shooting a second-round 70, had three birdies and two bogeys while carding a 69.

He found the wind to be problematic but felt good about being tied for second entering the final 18 holes.

“It wasn’t easy. It was a little more gusty than I anticipated,” Munoz said. “I felt like I got off to a good start making three up-and-downs on tough holes, tough conditions, so felt really good. Felt like the putter — I putted good.

“It’s tough to putt with windy conditions, so I felt like I put a good round (together) and we’ll see what needs to be done for tomorrow.”

Hoge is four shots back after a bogey-free round that included three birdies.

“I’m in a good spot,” Hoge said. “Looks like we might have a little bit better weather tomorrow, so a few more opportunities. I’ve been playing well, just hope to make a few more putts.”

Luke List (66 on Saturday), Scott Stallings (69) and Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes (70) are tied for fifth place at 11-under 201.

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