Stefani takes lead on late birdies after disaster hole

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MEMPHIS, Tennessee: American Shawn Stefani overcame a quadruple bogey on the 11th hole and closed with three birdies in a row to seize a one-stroke lead after Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) third round of the St. Jude Classic.

Stefani, seeking his first US PGA title, fired a four-under par 66 to stand on 12-under 198 after 54 holes, one stroke ahead of countryman Harris English, the 36-hole leader who could only manage a 69 on Saturday at TPC Southwind.

Four-time major champion Phil Mickelson fired a 65 and jumped to a share of sixth on 203, level with fellow American Eric Meierdierks and one back of fellow Americans Patrick Reed, Nicholas Thompson and Scott Stallings.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington also fired a 65 to reach 204 and share eighth with Americans Ryan Palmer and Roberto Castro.

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Stefani, whose best PGA showing was a share of seventh at last March’s Tampa Bay Championship in only his ninth PGA start, had back-to-back birdies at the second and third and again at the ninth and 10th.

Then came a quadruple-bogey at the par-3 11th that sent him tumbling down the scoreboard.

But Stefani answered with a birdie at the par-3 14th and then birdies at the final three holes.

English had a mild day by comparison, opening with a birdie and adding another at the par-5 third, then taking bogeys at the fifth and par-3 eighth before a birdie at 18 kept him one off the lead.

English also seeks his first PGA title at the $5.7 million event.

Meierdierks, who fired a 66, had a hole-in-one on the eighth.

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