PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Ryan Moore had no trouble explaining how, after 12 consecutive pars to start the third round of the Valspar Championship, he birdied four of the final six holes Saturday.
"I just hit it closer," he said.
The result was a 4-under 67 that pushed Moore to a 54-hole total of 9-under 204 and a one-shot lead over Jordan Spieth on Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead course.
Spieth shot 68. Derek Ernst was another stroke back after a 69.
The field was like a crowded freeway early before Moore finally opened up some space.
When the final pairing of Brendon de Jonge and Spieth reached its fifth hole, they were part of an eight-way tie for the lead at 5 under.
Another seven players were a shot back. Twenty-seven were within three.
While de Jonge, who led by one after 36 holes, shot 75 and fell off the pace, Moore, seeking his fifth career victory, moved steadily along in the swirling wind until sprinting to the finish.