AVONDALE, La. — If Sueng-Yul Noh can hold on to the lead in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, he’ll do it front of fans who can appreciate how much bigger Noh’s mission is than simply winning his first PGA Tour event.
Wearing yellow and black ribbons on his hat to honor victims of the April 16 South Korean ferry accident, Noh used a string of birdies late in his round Saturday to surge two strokes ahead of Keegan Bradley atop the leaderboard.
It is Noh’s first career lead through three rounds on the tour.
Noh finds himself representing – and captivating – a nation mourning the more than 300 dead or missing – many of them students – from the sinking of a ferry in the waters off his home country.
“Hopefully, I’ll make all the Korean people happy,” Noh said.
Noh is the first player to complete 54 holes at the TPC Louisiana without a bogey. He shot 7-under-par 65 to reach 18-under 198. No player has completed all four rounds on the course at better than 20-under, the score Billy Horschel posted last year, when he became the sixth player in the past nine years to secure his maiden PGA Tour triumph in New Orleans.
Former Clemson golfer Ben Martin, who had a three-shot lead after two rounds, shot 73 to drop into a tie for fourth with Jeff Overton and Andrew Svoboda at 14-under. Overton shot 67, and Svoboda had 70.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Shenzhen, China, Alexander Levy overcame driving rain and gusting winds to shoot 2-under-par 70 at the China Open and maintain a three-stroke lead over Alvaro Quiros heading into the final round.
Levy has a 16-under total of 200.
Former Augusta State golfer Scott Jamieson (73) is at 212.
WEB.COM TOUR: In Midland, Texas, Andrew Putnam shot 8-under-par 64 to open a seven-stroke lead after the third round of the WNB Golf Classic at Midland Country Club.
Putnam is at 20-under 196.
Richard S. Johnson (66 on Saturday) and Rod Pampling (68) are tied for second.
Former USC Aiken star Roberto Diaz (68) is at 207. Augusta’s Scott Parel (68) and former Augusta State standout Henrik Norlander (68) are at 209.
LPGA TOUR: In Daly City, Calif., Stacy Lewis shot 4-under-par 68 and leads the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic by one stroke after three rounds.
Lewis is at 10-under 206 at Lake Merced Golf Club.
Lydia Ko (68 on Saturday) is at 207.