Even during a rough start, Webb Simpson never lost his cool. He was rewarded with one of the hottest stretches of his young career.
It put the local favorite in position for his first PGA Tour win.
Simpson shot a 6-under 64 on Saturday to move to 15-under 195 and take a two-stroke lead after three rounds at the Wyndham Championship.
The 26-year-old Raleigh native and former Wake Forest player had four birdies and an eagle during his late charge at the final event before the playoffs start next week.
"You've got to really stay patient around this golf course, because bogeys are pretty quick to happen out here with the rough and the undulating greens," Simpson said. "I told myself to be patient and let the birdies come. It took them a while to get there, but (he) finally made a few coming in."
Tommy Gainey (69), who led or shared the lead after each of the first two rounds, was 13 under.
Carl Pettersson (63) and John Mallinger (65) were 12 under. Daniel Summerhays (68) was 11 under, and Billy Horschel (66), Charles Howell III (66), Jason Bohn (67), Retief Goosen (68) and Ernie Els (69) were another stroke back.
Play was halted for 1 hour, 4 minutes late in the day due to threats of rain and lightning.
After things resumed, Simpson made his move.
He started the day three strokes behind Gainey and had two early bogeys before leapfrogging his playing partner with a barrage of low scores.
Simpson birdied No. 13 and sank a 32-foot birdie putt on No. 14. He stuck his second shot on the par-5 15th within 5 feet of the flagstick and converted that putt for his third eagle of the week. He had consecutive birdies on Nos. 16 and 17, then nearly closed his round with another -- but left his 18-foot birdie putt 2 inches short.
"Probably one of my top birdie-eagle streaks that I've had, and it came at a better time than any other streak I've had, just because we're not getting anything going all day and everybody else is taking it low," Simpson said. "To finish the round that way was great. I'd much rather finish the round that way than start that way. If at all possible, we'll start that way (today)."
There certainly was plenty of movement on "Moving Day" with the crowded leader board shuffling itself several times.
Gainey, a South Carolina native nicknamed "Tommy Two Gloves," built his two-round lead after having just one bogey on Thursday and Friday.
But he doubled that total on his first two holes, and that opened things up for the rest of the field.
"I guess one word sums it up -- frustrating," Gainey said. "That's the only positive thing that I can take from it right now, is I still have a chance to win the golf tournament."
Pettersson was the first to take advantage. He began the day seven shots back, but made eagle on the par-5 fifth to go with five birdies, including one on the par-3 16th that put him at 12 under.
Now he'll enter the final round in contention for a second victory on his adopted hometown course.
The native Swede grew up in Greensboro, played college golf at North Carolina State, serves on this tournament's board of directors and won it in 2008, when it moved across town to Sedgefield.
Around the greens
* Fred Couples shot a 3-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead after the third round of the Senior Players Championship, the Champions Tour's final major of the season.
Couples had an 11-under 202 total on Westchester Country Club's tree-lined West Course.
John Cook (66) and Peter Senior (68) were tied for second.
* Na Yeon Choi took a three-stroke lead in the LPGA Tour Safeway Classic on Saturday, shooting a 2-under 69 to reach 8 under on Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club's Ghost Creek course.
Stacy Lewis was second after a 68.