(Reuters) - Brandt Snedeker finished with three successive birdies on Saturday to record a three-under-par 69 and take a three-stroke lead into the final day of the Safeway Open in Napa, California.
Snedeker was not as sharp as he had been his opening two days, but caught fire in the end to surge to 16-under-par that positions him for a victory in the PGA Tour's season-opening event.
If he prevails on Sunday it would be his second win in less than two months after he captured the Wyndham Championship in August.
Kevin Tway is in second at 13-under following a four-under-par 68. South Korean Sungjae Im is at 12-under while Bill Haas is in fourth at 11-under.
Haas, who is searching for his first PGA tour win in nearly four years, birdied four of his final six holes to finish off a five-under-par 67 and surge into strong contention.
Phil Mickelson finally hit the wall he had been anticipating when he entered the event following last week's Ryder Cup in Paris.
The 48-year-old Mickelson had surprisingly found form over the first two days, but he fell back in the third round with a two-over-par 74 that leaves him at eight-under.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)