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Billy Hurley III maintains lead at Greenbrier

Updated: Sunday, 06 Jul 2014 10:13 | Comments

Billy Hurley III lines up a putt on the 18th green
Billy Hurley III lines up a putt on the 18th green

Billy Hurley III continued to lead the chase for the Greenbrier Classic title - and an Open Championship place - with a third-round 67 at White Sulphur Springs.

The 31-year-old has never even recorded a top-three finish in his six seasons on the PGA Tour but put himself in prime position to break his duck by advancing to 12 under par in West Virginia and a two-stroke lead over nearest challenger Angel Cabrera.

An opening birdie on day three was offset by a poor chip at the third but the rest of his front nine was exemplary, starting with a calm 10-foot putt at the fourth to move under par again.

A precise spinning approach to the ninth set up a birdie and an outward nine of 32 shots.

His pitch onto the green at the par-five 12th struck the pin and set up a short birdie putt, and he holed a good left-to-right breaker at the next to move four under par for the day.

A miss from 12 feet at the 15th was the one blemish thereafter but the former Navy lieutenant will be happy with his efforts.

With Open places on offer to the top four finishers not already qualified - so long as they are in the top 12 - Hurley has a fine chance of a place at Royal Liverpool, albeit with plenty of challengers waiting for him to slip up.

Second-placed Cabrera has no such concerns, the Argentinian already in the field for a shot at his third major to add to the 2007 US Open and 2009 Masters.

He was 10 under after three trips round The Old White, his third a fine 64 which finished on a high with birdies at 16 and 17 including a huge breaking right-to-left putt from 30 feet on the former hole.

Cabrera aside, though, Steve Stricker was the only member of the top 11 not playing for an Open place.

The American Ryder Cup player was one of seven players at eight under, a shot behind Kevin Chappell who held third place outright after a one-under-par 69.

Stricker is alongside compatriots Michael Thompson, Cameron Tringale, Will Wilcox, Joe Durant and Chris Stroud and Colombia's Camilo Villegas.

Durant produced one of the shots of the day off the 18th tee, spinning his yellow ball to within six inches before tapping in for a closing birdie.

Jim Renner was alone on seven under with seven players sharing 12th place on six under.

Five of those - Canada's David Hearn, Swede David Lingmerth and Americans Hudson Swafford, Luke Guthrie and Troy Matteson - are among the host of players chasing a trip to England, though Bubba Watson and Bill Haas are merely warming up for the Merseyside event.

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