Gardiner on Top of Tour Championship

Scott Gardiner took the 54-hole lead in the Tour Championship after firing a 5-under 65 Saturday on the Valley Course at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

After opening with an eagle on the par-5 first hole followed by a bogey, the 37-year-old Aussie reeled off five more birdies against only one other dropped shot the rest of the way to reach 10-under 200, one stroke ahead of 36-hole leader Chesson Hadley and Joe Durant, who shot 70 and 68, respectively.

Despite a bogey on the par-4 17th, Hadley - who began the day with a two-stroke lead - still held the top spot but the 26-year-old North Carolinian doubled the par-4 final hole to drop into a tie for second with fellow American Durant.

Two behind Gardiner is Andrew Putnam (67), while three back is Jamie Lovemark (66).

Bud Cauley matched Gardiner for the low third round with a 65 and rose into a share of sixth at 204 with Andrew Loupe (67), Rod Pampling (68) and Russell Knox (68). Eight players are at 205 heading into Sunday's final round.

The $1 million event is the last of four tournaments where 25 players can earn their PGA Tour cards for 2013-14. The top 25 are decided by a money list from the four tournaments; another 25 have already qualified by placing in the top-25 on the Tour season-long money list.

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