Wilson leads in fight for his career

Dean Wilson watches his drive on the 11th hole at St. George's during third round play at the...

Dean Wilson watches his drive on the 11th hole at St. George's during third round play at the Canadian Open on July 24, 2010. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Dean Wilson will be nervous Sunday, and why wouldn't he be?

Not only is there a matter of $918,000 to the winner of the Canadian Open but there is the revival of his professional career at stake as he takes a four-shot lead into the final round at St. George's Golf and Country Club.

The Hawaii native and former teammate of Mike Weir at Brigham Young University, finished outside the top 125 money earners last year, losing his status on the PGA Tour and is now existing on sponsor exemptions to get him into tournaments. That's how he got into this championship.

He's hoping that, come Sunday, with a win he will have exemptions that will get him into just about every PGA Tour event for the next two years.

Wilson fired his third consecutive 65, and sits at 15-under-par as once again the Tour pros laid waste to par at St. George's. He is four shots clear of Carl Pettersson, Bob Estes and Tim Clark.

Bryce Molder, Trevor Immelman, Kevin Sutherland and Brock Mackenzie are another stroke back at 10-under.

"I'll be nervous on the first tee," said Wilson. "Nervous when I warm up. If you're not nervous, you're not there. If I wasn't nervous, it wouldn't be any fun."

That doesn't mean he's unaware of the implications of a win on his future in the game.

"Last year didn't turn out so good, but I'm a little more appreciative of being out here. That time away makes you think about what you don't have.

"I know every guy goes through it: you're playing tournament after tournament after tournament and if things don't go too well, you say 'I've got next week.' Well, I don't have next week."

Pettersson set the standard right out of the gate Saturday with his record-setting round of 60, the lowest single-round score ever carded in a Canadian Open. Pettersson had barely made the cut at one-under, nine shots behind the Friday leaders.

He even gave back another shot before he made his first birdie at the fifth hole. After that, there was no stopping him until his birdie putt for 59 lipped out at the 18th.

"It was a thrill to have a chance for 59 but I'm thrilled to shoot 60," said the Swede.

As Pettersson knew, there were good scores to be had by the players late in the day and Wilson took what the course was giving him. He made three birdies and a bogey on the outward nine, then made four more birdies and a bogey coming home.

Wilson and Clark played in pouring rain at times but Wilson, especially, handled it well, making three birdies in a row at the height of the storm.

"Just another day in Hawaii, right?" he said. "You can't fight it. You know it's going to be there and you can't complain about it. You just have to be a little tougher than the rain."

Meanwhile, Tim Clark reached a high water mark of 12-under before settling back at -11 in a grinding round that included three birdies, two bogies and 13 pars. His final bogey, a three-putt on the 18th green, knocked him out of the final pairing.

Tour veteran Bob Estes shot 66 to also sit at -11 and will play with Clark in the second-last pairing Sunday, just ahead of Pettersson and Wilson.

Par has been completely ravaged this week on a golf course most felt would stand up well to the Tour players. Rain has been the biggest enemy of St. George's as downpours late this week left the fairways and greens soft and vulnerable. Dry fast fairways would have allowed tee-shots to run out into the tangled rough that guards each fairway and hard, fast greens would have made it difficult for the players to go at the pins without fear.

At the start of this week, the competitive course record at St. George's was 64, a mark set by George Knudson in 1968, the last time the Open was held here. That number has been matched or beaten nine times during this tournament and the record now belongs to Pettersson.

"This golf course is a great test of golf," said Wilson. "With the rains softening up the course, the balls are stopping on the greens. If the fairways were really firm, the ball would roll out."


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