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Hubbard takes control

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Mark Hubbard, chasing his first US PGA Tour title, fired a seven-under par 65 to grab a one-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round of the Sanderson Farms Championship.

The 33-year-old American birdied five consecutive holes in one stretch on the back nine of his bogey-free round to stand on 15-under par 201 after 54 holes at The Country Club of Jackson in Mississippi.

“I just did a good job of taking advantage of the gettable holes,” Hubbard said.

“It didn’t feel as exciting as the scorecard looks because I was in the right spot every time.”

Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes answered a bogey at 17 with a closing birdie from 29 feet to finish a round of 68 and claim second on 202.

“It was big,” Hughes said.

“I thought it was going to be a tough two-putt so to see that putt go in was a big bonus. Puts me one back going into tomorrow, which is huge.”

South African Garrick Higgo, Austrian Sepp Straka and American Scott Stallings shared third on 204 with Americans Keegan Bradley and Nick Hardy another stroke adrift.

World No. 186 Hubbard, making his 164th career PGA start, is trying to improve upon his best tour showing, a runner-up effort at the 2019 Houston Open.

Hubbard said his father noted last week that Saturdays had been his worst scoring days last season.

“That kind of fired me up and gave me good energy today,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard made his only birdie on the front nine on a 20-foot putt at the par-4 second and needed a 16-foot par putt at the ninth to avoid a bogey.

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