Sweden's Parnevik takes three-shot lead in Texas

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HOUSTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) Sweden's Jesper Parnevik closed in on his first PGA Tour victory in six years by taking a three-shot lead into the final round of the Texas Open after firing a four-under-par 66.

Parnevik, who has not celebrated a win since the Honda Classic in 2001, struggled on his outward nine at San Antonio's a Cantera Golf Club and mixed a pair of birdies with two bogeys through 10 holes.

But with the field mounting a charge, the Swede responded with an error free finish that included three straight birdies from the 11th and another at the 17th to sit on 18-under 192 ahead of compatriot Mathias Gronberg.

''It was a little bit tougher than I expected out there,'' Parnevik told reporters yesterday. ''The wind was blowing a lot more but I was thinking I was a little bit more uptight.

''But I hung in there. For not having a great day, I'm very happy to shoot four-under par.'' He added: ''I knew that coming in today I could not go out and shoot even par. It's not going to be the same thing tomorrow.

''It's going to be tough day, no doubt about it.'' Gronberg's strong back nine with birdies at 12, 13, 15 and 16 helped move him into contention at 15-under 195.

American Justin Leonard sits a further shot back after returning a six-under 64.

''He (Parnevik) has got a nice lead so I don't feel a lot of pressure,'' said Leonard. ''But I've made up on some ground on guys before so I'm going to try.'' Swede Daniel Chopra and Americans Chris Stroud and Ryan Armour also shot 64 while Japan's Shigeki Maruyama signed for a 65 to leave them all six off the pace at 12-under 198.

Parnevik enters the final round chasing more than his first win in six years.

Sitting 138th on the PGA Tour's money list, the Swede needs a big day in Texas to secure a spot in the top 125 and his playing privileges for next season.

REUTERS TB AS0613

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