Ashland's Allred still in contention at U.S. Bank

MILWAUKEE — Jason Allred birdied three of his final six holes Saturday to remain in contention at the U.S. Bank Championship and set himself up for his best finish on the PGA Tour.

The Ashland native followed up a 64 on Friday with a 2-under-par 68 in the third round. He's 8 under for the tournament with a score of 202, good for a tie for 12th place and three strokes behind leaders Nick Flanagan and Gavin Coles.

Allred overcame a bogey 5 on the first hole with seven consecutive pars, followed by a birdie and another par. He bogeyed No. 11 before fashioning the strong finish that included a birdie on the par-5 18th hole.

Allred will be paired today with Mathias Gronberg and Jason Dufner. They tee off at 8:25 a.m. Pacific time.

Allred's best career finish was a tie for 14th place in the Chrysler Classic in Tucson, Ariz., in 2006. His only other career top 25 was a tie for 17th in the 2005 Sony Open in Honolulu, his first event on tour.

In 12 events this year, he's made three cuts and earned $36,720. His best finish is a tie for 45th in the Sony.

Flanagan and Coles aren't the only Australians with leads to sleep on. Countryman Greg Norman is atop the British Open leaderboard.

And if Norman, 53, should go on to become the oldest player to win a major championship, Coles and Flanagan won't feel overshadowed.

"That would be definitely OK with me," said Coles. "I'm playing in America because Greg Norman showed us that we could play here. Norman, back in the '90s, was the guy we all looked up to. It's going to be unbelievable, and I hope he does it."

Flanagan fired a third-round 69, rebounding from a bogey at the 17th by knocking a hybrid to within 12 feet on the 557-yard, par-5 finishing hole and making a tap-in birdie to reclaim a share of the lead after Coles shot 68.

"I thought I hit a perfect putt. I don't know how it missed," Flanagan said of his eagle chance.

Second-round co-leader Richard S. Johnson of Sweden, playing with Flanagan, also just missed an eagle putt at the 18th. But his tap-in birdie allowed him to finish at even-par 70, tied with Jon Mills (64), George McNeill (66) and Ken Duke (68) a stroke back of the leaders.

The low rounds came despite a drizzle that fell most of the day. Coles said the light rain was not a problem because there was no high wind.

"The weather was not a nuisance and the course was made for some birdies," he said.

Five players were another shot back at 9 under, including defending champion Joe Ogilvie, whose 68 on Saturday puts him in position to win the tournament for the second straight year.

Kenny Perry, whose decision to play the tournament instead of the British Open was panned by players and the media, shot a third-round 69 to get to 6 under — too far back to have much of a chance at his fourth win this season.

"My goal was to get within three, and I had my chances," said Perry, who won the John Deere Classic last week. "If I could have made a couple putts coming in and got within three, I would have had a shot at this deal. It will take a magical round tomorrow. I'd have to shoot 61 or some crazy number, and that ain't happening right now."

Flanagan, who was promoted after winning three tournaments on the Nationwide Tour, led at the turn despite a bogey on the par-4 ninth, when he missed a short putt. The bogey dropped him back to 10 under, the score he and Johnson had to share the lead after two rounds.

Flanagan still retained at least a share of the lead until he bogeyed the par-4 17th. His third shot from green-side rough barely got onto the green, and he missed a long putt for par to fall a shot behind Coles. Then came the birdie at No. 18.

Johnson, the first-round leader, also missed a putt for eagle at the 18th. He had to settle for a birdie that kept him just a shot out of first place.

Coles, whose 62 Friday was the low round of the tournament, stumbled through bogeys on the first two holes to fall to 7 under. He rebounded with four birdies on the back nine, including back-to-back at 12 and 13, and his birdie at the par-4 16th got him to 11 under.

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