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Furyk goes on birdie spree, takes lead

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Jim Furyk hasn't competed on the PGA Tour in seven months, so he kept his expectations to a minimum at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

That changed into pressure he knows all too well with one big round.

Furyk made seven birdies over his last 10 holes at Pebble Beach on Saturday, the last one with a wedge he spun back to tap-in range on the par-5 18th, for his best round in two decades playing this tournament. He had a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead over Matt Jones and Brandt Snedeker going into the final round.

For the 44-year-old Furyk, it's another chance to end more than four years without a victory. He has had at least a share of the 54-hole lead eight times during that drought without converting. But at least he has another chance.

"Ultimately, I want to win golf tournaments and that's what's most important to me," said Furyk, who was at 18-under 197. "And I think maybe at times last year, I sat here and looked at y'all and said, 'I'm not going to put pressure on myself, I'm just going to go out there and try and play the same way.' It's not hard to look you right in the eye and say, 'I want to win golf tournaments.' But it's hard to go out the next day and try to play the same way and not put extra pressure on yourself.

"We all expect a lot of ourselves and we all put pressure on ourselves on Sunday," he said. "But I think that the way maybe I was doing it in the past was a little counterproductive at times."

Jones made six birdies in a seven-hole stretch and built a three-shot lead late in the glorious afternoon until he made bogey on his last two holes at Pebble Beach for a 67. Furyk caught up to him and then passed him with a wedge to a foot on the final hole. Snedeker, who went 47 holes before making his first bogey of the tournament, made a 20-foot birdie putt on his final hole for a 67.

"Didn't have my best stuff starting out today," Snedeker said. "I was able to gut out a good round. You kind of have to do that. ... You're going to have a stretch of golf where you're not playing your best, and hopefully, mine is behind me now."

ACE GROUP CLASSICE: At Naples, Fla., Colin Montgomerie overcame a double bogey to shoot his second straight 6-under 66, holding onto a one-stroke lead after two rounds of the Champions Tour event at TwinEagles Golf Club.

Montgomerie birdied four of his last six holes and is 12-under 132 for the tournament. Lee Janzen also had a double bogey but shot a 7-under 65 and is one back at 11 under.

Esteban Toledo and Scott Dunlap are both at 8-under 128. Three other players are 7 under, including Bernhard Langer, who won five tournaments in 2014 as well as 18 top-10 finishes.

Paul Goydos, who won The Allianz Championship last week in Boca Raton, Fla., is at 5-under after a 70. Kirk Triplett, the 2014 ACE Group Classic victor, is at 4-under after a 72.

Jim Furyk hits out of a bunker to the second green during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Saturday/ AP PHOTO