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Blair Trails By One Going Into Final Round

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Derek Fathauer birdied four of his first five holes on Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass Saturday before heavy rain halted play. A focused Fathauer battled through several additional weather delays and posted a 3-under 67. The former Louisville Cardinal’s 12-under 198 puts him one shot in front of Zac Blair (71) after 54 holes of the Tour Championship, the finale to the Tour Finals.
Lurking just two back is seven-time Tour winner Jason Gore (66).
(The tournament is being televised live on The Golf Channel)
Zac Blair is solo second heading into Sunday’s final round. His previous best standing after 54 holes was a T9 at the Utah Championship earlier this year. He shot a 1-under 70 in the final round and finished T11.
• Blair leads the field in par-5 scoring (4.00). He has played the two holes (Nos. 7, 10) in 6-under par. Blair has birdied No. 7 in each of the first three rounds. He birdied No. 10 on Thursday, eagled it on Friday and made par today.
• Zac Blair surrendered the outright lead to Derek Fathauer after leading after the first and second rounds. There has never been a wire-to-wire at the Tour Championship. The closest anyone has come occurred in 1996 and 1997. Stewart Cink (1996) and Steve Flesch (1997) each shared the first-round lead in three-way ties and then were the outright leaders after the next three rounds.
• Blair’s triple-bogey-6 on the par-3, 14th hole was just his second triple bogey of the year. Blair is making his 12th start in as many weeks and has now played 39 rounds this season. His only other triple bogey came at the par-5 12th hole during the second round of the Hotel Fitness Championship where he missed the cut.
(The tournament is being televised live on The Golf Channel)
Blair has missed the cut in the first three Finals events and a top-5 finish this week might be enough to earn one of 50 PGA TOUR cards that will be handed out on Sunday night.
“I realized I needed a good week coming in,” said Blair. “I also realized that none of the projections matter until the end of Sunday.”
Blair started inching his way away from the field with three more birdies at the turn. One of the keys to his solid play thus far has been his ability to keep the ball  out of the thick, Bermuda rough.
“The fairways tighten the further down you get,” said Fathauer. “You want to play this course from the fairway.”
Fathauer has been throttling back his play in an effort to keep things in the shorter grass. A good example came on his closing hole, the 421-yard, 9th.
“I thought about hitting 3-wood there but there’s really no need to push it further down,” he said. “You’re going to hit hybrid and an 8-iron at the most. It’s just an unnecessary risk. Not just the last hole, but all the holes out here.”