Padraig Harrington has elusive win in his sights

Dubliner just two shots off the lead ahead of final round at Byron Nelson Championship

Padraig Harrington of Ireland plays his tee shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas. Photograph:Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Padraig Harrington of Ireland plays his tee shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas. Photograph:Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Sun, May 18, 2014, 12:32

Padraig Harrington will start the final round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship just two shots off the lead after a third round of 66 moved him to eight under and a share of sixth place.

The three-time major winner, who has not won on the PGA or European Tours since his US PGA Championship win at Oakland Hills in 2008, will start his final round at 6.40pm Irish time, two adrift of overnight leaders Louis Oosthuizen and Brendon Todd.

Oosthuizen carded four birdies in the last five holes to surge into a share of the lead with Todd after the third round at the $6.9 million event. However, neither of the two co-leaders will feel particularly confident about victory given that seven other players are no more than two strokes off the pace.

Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, recovered from a poor start, two bogeys in the first four holes, to fire a six under par 64, the best round of the day at the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving.

“I hit the ball really well with my irons and had a lot of putts inside 10 feet for birdie and I think I made them all,” the South African said after his round.

Halfway leader Todd (68) also birdied the last to join Oosthuizen at 10 under, one stroke ahead of Mike Weir (67), Gary Woodland (66) and James Hahn (65).

Todd has never finished better than sixth on tour, while Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, has not had a top-10 finish on the US circuit in more than four years. Morgan Hoffman was tied for the lead until he butchered the par-four 18th, yanking his drive into the water en route to a double-bogey and a 68 to fall back into a tie for sixth with, among others, Harrington.

World number 39 Oosthuizen pulled out of last year’s Byron Nelson Championship after three rounds, due to a neck injury, and he also battled back problems earlier this year. However, a runner-up finish at the Malaysian Open last month indicated he was back in form.

Oosthuizen, whose smooth swing is regarded by his peers as one of the best in the game, said he liked the course this week because it puts a premium on accuracy rather than power.

“It’s so tough out of the rough,” he said. “The key thing for me is hitting fairways and then finding greens, because I’m putting really well.

“I putted really well today, putted well yesterday, so I want to give myself as many birdie opportunities as I can (tomorrow) and make a few.”

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