Justin Lower birdies 18th hole to lead Fortinet Championship by 1

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NAPA, Calif. — Justin LowerThe wind was not a problem and I birdied the 18th green Saturday to take a oneshot lead into the final round at the season-opening Fortinet Championship.

Lower shot a 3-under 69 to get to 13 under at Silverado Resort & Spa, with his fifth birdie of the round giving him his first career 54-hole lead in his 29th start on the PGA Tour. He is looking for his first victory on the tour.

Champion of defense Max HomaAnd Danny WillettAfter even-par 72s, they were shot back. Byeong Hun AnHad a 71 to get down to 11 under.

While many players went out early in the morning with good playing conditions, they posted low scores. However, the course became more difficult late in the afternoon when the wind picked up and caused havoc.

Willett spent several moments on the eighth green blowing leaves and clearing his mind before he made a birdie putt, which put him briefly in front at 13 under.

Workers with leaf blowers were on the next hole to keep it clean, but Willett made two-bogey 7, after his approach shot flew past green.

There were not many birdie opportunities and players were content with their pars in the latter part of the day. This resulted in a condensed leaderboard, with eight players within three shots of each other heading into Sunday.

An took a one-shot lead after hitting a solid tee shot at the par-3 15th. He then made a birdie of 6 feet to reach 13 under. He gave it back with a double par-5 bogey on the 16th, when his second shot was caught near the root.

Lower was able to make the short birdie putt after Lowers second shot on the par-5 18,th.

Lower has been away from home for several weeks. He appeared to have lost his tour card after three-putting at Wyndham Championships final home for a bogey. Lower needed only a par to stay in the top 125. Lower was able to climb back into the top125 after several defections to LIV Tour. He is now taking advantage in the first tournament this season.

The final round will be a tough one. Conditions aren’t expected to be better due to the weather forecast for rain and wind. The final round will feature threesomes of split tees and the leaders will tee off a few hours earlier than planned.

Davis ThompsonAnd Harrison EndycottHarrison finished fifth in a four-way tie with Harrison for fifth place. Paul Haley II, Matt KucharAnd Adam Svensson. Endycott was one stroke behind in a tie for 9th with four others.

Endycott was the first to leave the course. He was single in his first tournament win and had a birdie on hole number three. He was able overcome his broken driver early in the round and was happy that he had all of his clubs available Saturday.

He said, Definitely helps when theres a driver in your bag after yesterdays shenanigans and the cracked drivers face. This course is difficult to hit 3-wood everywhere. It was nice to be able to play some good golf today.

Haley, who was on tour for 3,315 consecutive days from the 2013 Wyndham Champion and the start this tournament, was tied at 10 under with Thompson after a tie of 66.

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