MIAMI, Apr 16 (Reuters) Jim Furyk and playing partner Aaron Baddeley shared the lead at 15 under par midway through the Heritage Classic final round at Hilton Head, South Carolina today.
Joint pacesetters overnight, the pair reached the turn in one-under 35 on a bright, relatively calm, day at the picturesque Harbour Town Golf Links.
Australian Baddeley, bidding for his first PGA Tour title, forged two clear after four holes but dropped back with consecutive bogeys on seven and eight.
World number five Ernie Els was a two shots behind in third, after collecting four birdies in the first eight holes.
Apart from a bogey at the par-five second, where he drove out of bounds, the big South African was in sparkling form.
Els struck a seven-iron approach to within a foot of the flag at the par-four eighth to get to 13 under and narrowly missed a fifth birdie at the 10th, where his five-foot attempt slid past the eight edge.
Americans Brett Quigley, Vaughn Taylor and Billy Mayfair were tied for fourth at 12 under.
Quigley had completed 13 holes, Taylor 12 and Mayfair 10.
Australia's Stephen Leaney held the clubhouse lead at six-under 278 after closing with a 68.
After starting the day three strokes clear, Furyk and Baddeley traded birdies at the par-five second before the Australian benefited from a two-shot swing at the par-three fourth, Baddeley making birdie while Furyk bogeyed.
Both players birdied the par-five fifth before Baddeley dropped his first shot, overhitting the green at the par-three seventh and failing to get up and down from the back bunker.
The Australian also bogeyed the par-four eighth after pushing his drive under pine trees to the right.
Furyk, chasing his 11th PGA Tour title, fell inches short with his birdie putt at the same hole and the pair were once again tied for the lead.
REUTERS DKS PM0136