Silvis, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Brian Harman fired a third-round, 6-under 65 on Saturday and that vaulted him into first place heading into the final day at the John Deere Classic.
Harman, who is seeking his first career win, sits at 17-under-par 196 for the tournament and he holds a 1-shot lead over 3-time John Deere Classic champion Steve Stricker.
While he does not have a win on tour, Harman has come close multiple times this year with five top-10 finishes in 24 events. His best finish came at the Northern Trust Open, where he ended tied for third.
Stricker made eight birdies to just one bogey on his way to a 7-under 64 and he is alone in second place at 16-under 197.
Scott Brown flirted with a 59 all day, but he settled for one of the best rounds of the year on tour with a 10-under 61. He is alone in third place at 15-under and sits two shots back at TPC Deere Run.
Second-round leaders Zach Johnson and William McGirt both shot matching 69s, and they finished day three in a 4-way tie for fourth place at 14-under 199. Joining them were Tim Clark and Jerry Kelly and they shot 64 and 65, respectively.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth shot a 67 on Saturday and he is six shots back at 11-under 202.
Harman began the day one shot back of the leaders, but he got things going early on in his third round. After reaching the green in two on the par-5 second hole, Harman sank his 29-foot eagle putt. He added birdies at four and eight and Harman made the turn at 3-under for the day.
The 27-year-old had an up-and-down back nine. After a birdie at No. 10, Harman gave that shot back with a bogey at 12. Following two pars at 13 and 14, Harman made another birdie at 15.
He made yet another eagle at 17 when he sunk 47-foot putt and that put him at 7-under. A bogey at No. 18 dropped Harman back to minus-17 for the tournament. He played the three par-5s at 5-under on Saturday.
"I struck the ball beautifully today," Harman said. "I hit 17 greens, I think I only missed a couple fairways. It's good to have the ball-striking under control. Just go play golf tomorrow and see what happens."
Stricker, who is used to winning this tournament, started off strong with four birdies on the front nine. He made birdies at three and five, and Stricker later poured in back-to-back birdies at eight and nine.
The 47-year-old's first blemish of the day came at No. 11, where he bogeyed the par-4. Stricker responded with another birdie at 12 and he followed those up with birdies at 14 and 17.
Stricker's 27-foot birdie putt dropped on No. 18 and just like that he was one shot back of Harman.
Heading into the last few holes, Brown was vying for the seventh 59 in tour history and second at the John Deere Classic (Paul Goydos in 2010).
Brown started off strong with back-to-back birdies at two and three, and then again at seven and eight. He was just getting started.
Two more birdies at 10 and 11 had Brown thinking big, and his roll continued with three straight birdies from 13.
After a par at No. 16, Brown needed to eagle the par-5 17th and birdie the par-4 18th to shoot a 59. Brown almost made the first part come true, but he just missed a 17-foot eagle putt and had to settle for birdie.
Brown could not hole-out from the fairway on No. 18 and he eventually made par, finishing his round at 61.
"When I hit the shot on 17, I think it was about a 10-footer for eagle, I knew if I made it I had to birdie the last," Brown said. "It never really entered my mind when I missed that putt. I guess when you're playing good you just kind of expect to hit good shots because you're in the moment, you're playing well, some putts are going in. You just stay aggressive and kind of just forget where you're at."
NOTES: The group of Brown, Jhonattan Vegas (63) and Daniel Summerhays (65) combined to shoot a 24-under in the third round. Vegas is at 13-under, while Summerhays is 11-under ... Spieth also began last year's final round six shots back of the lead, and he stormed back with a 6-under 65 to force a playoff. Spieth eventually went on to beat Johnson and David Hearn on the fifth playoff hole ... Jim Furyk was the last player to shoot a 59 on tour. He did it at last year's BMW Championship.