GREENSBORO, N.C. — Ashland native Jason Allred was already in good shape before Saturday morning even rolled around.
By the end of the day, he was in superb position at the Wyndham Championship.
Allred — whose attempting to become a member of the PGA Tour — moved up 10 spots into a tie for 18th place on Saturday after firing a balanced 3-under-par 67. At 8-under, he is six strokes behind leader Nick Watney.
His strong performance at Sedgefield Country Club included five birdies, including three on the back nine, and just two bogeys.
Allred and Josh Teater tee off at 9:35 a.m. Pacific time today.
Not many players — Allred included — birdied the tricky final hole.
Watney did to top leaderboard.
Watney made a 20-foot birdie putt from the right edge of the green on the par-4 18th for a 5-undee 65 and a one-stroke lead. The five-time PGA Tour winner had a 14-under 196 total with only one bogey through three trips.
“I’ve been trying to keep it pretty simple — a lot of fairways and greens, and I’ve been able to do that so far,” Watney said. “I’m super excited about going into tomorrow with the lead. ... I’m looking forward to everything that comes with it, all the emotions and wanting to do well and whatnot. Learning how to handle that is a big thing, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Brad Fritsch was second after a 65.
Freddie Jacobson and second-round co-leader Heath Slocum were 12 under. Jacobson shot a 66, and Slocum had a 68.
Former Wyndham winners Brandt Snedeker and Webb Simpson joined second-round co-leader Scott Langley at 11 under in the final event of the PGA Tour’s regular season. Snedeker and Simpson shot 66, and Langley had a 69.
Fritsch was the first to 13 under, but Watney joined him with a birdie on the par-5 15th — his second of the week on that hole.
Then came the sequence that gave him sole possession of the lead, and it came on the second-toughest hole of the day.
Watney plopped his fairway shot from 180 yards onto the right edge of the green, then calmly rolled in his putt for just the fifth birdie of the day on 18.
“It’s a hard hole as it is, and they put the pin on that back right little knob,” Watney said. “It’s a bonus and I’m very happy with it.”
That put him in great position for his second top-10 finish of the year and his first victory since he won The Barclays in 2012.
Fritsch — a Canadian who played college golf at Campbell and lives in the Raleigh suburb of Holly Springs — said he asked the officials at the first tee to announce him as a North Carolinian.
“Just so people would know (and) get a little focus off Webb and a little onto me,” Fritsch said with a laugh.
He made it to 13 under when he birdied the par-3 16th after placing his tee shot about 15 feet from the flagstick.
Fritsch, who is playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, put himself in position to challenge for his first victory on tour and his third top-10 finish.
He’s also got a shot at making the postseason after arriving at Sedgefield at No. 163. The top 125 qualify for The Barclays next week in New Jersey.
He came to this tournament last year at No. 128 last year but missed the cut — and the playoffs.
“Can’t tell you specifically what I found,” Fritsch said. “Staying patient and not freaking out over a bogey, not freaking out over a missed fairway and not getting too aggressive — I think just that, really.”
Andres Romero had the day’s best round, a 64, and Kevin Foley and David Toms each had holes-in-one. Foley aced the par-3 12th with a 5-iron a few minutes before Toms did it on the par-3 seventh.