Greensboro, N.C. Rocco Mediate's putting took him a long way in the first three rounds of the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic.
Mediate, putting nothing like his PGA Tour stats indicate, shot a 6-under-par 66 Saturday for a two-shot lead over Mark Calcavecchia heading into the final round.
Mediate began the week 140th on tour in putting average, but needed just 25 putts in his third round and 77 through 54 holes.
"I've worked on a few things with my right-hand grip and slowed my pace down a lot you know, things that we as professionals change every other day," Mediate said. "I don't know why I hadn't been putting good. I think my pace got off and my lines got crooked. That's all you need.
"There were no putts that really got away from me today. I just had a little bit better feel."
Mediate, the winner here in 1993, began the third round one stroke behind co-leaders Calcavecchia and Robert Gamez, but birdied his first three holes at Forest Oaks Country Club to tie for the lead.
"I came out and got a really dreamy kind of start," Mediate said.
Mediate bogeyed his next two holes to fall from the top of the leaderboard as quickly as he got there. However, he rebounded on the back nine with three birdies in a four-hole span, then made a 20-footer on No. 18 for a 15-under total and an opportunity for his fifth PGA Tour victory.
"I've set myself up to play good because I've played good to get here," Mediate said. "There is no reason I can't do it again."
Mediate is ranked 17th in the world the highest in the field.
"I don't put a lot of merit in it, but once I know where I'm ranked I want to show myself and everybody else that's where I should be ranked," Mediate said. "I don't like for people to say, 'He shouldn't be in the top 20 in the world. What the heck has he done?"'
Calcavecchia began the day at 10-under and carded a 69 to stay close, getting a birdie on his final hole.
Good putting has also saved the 10-time tour winner this week. Calcavecchia hit only seven greens Saturday and was at 50 percent after three rounds. However, he's needed just 67 putts after some wonderful chipping.
"I must have had four or five fringes today and another three, four or five holes where I was a couple of feet off the fringe," Calcavecchia said.
Chad Campbell was another two shots back at 9-under after a 66.
Former Kansas University golfer Matt Gogel shot his second straight 68 and trails by eight shots.