Steele goes five clear at Nationwide

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, Last Updated: 7:20 PM ET

Charleston, SC – Brendan Steele fired a seven-under 65 on Saturday to take a commanding lead after the third round of the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island.

Steele, a co-leader after both of the first two rounds, finished 54 holes at 14-under 202 and is five strokes in front at Ralston Creek Course at the Daniel Island Club.

James Hahn posted a five-under 67 on Saturday and moved into a tie for second place with Colt Knost, a second-round co-leader, who shot a two-under 70. The pair is knotted at nine-under 207.

This event is reserved for the top 60 on the Nationwide Tour money list, although that number was trimmed by one on Thursday. Chris Kirk, ranked No. 2 on the money list, withdrew prior to the start of the tournament with a fractured bone in his left thumb.

The top 25 on the money list at the completion of the tournament will earn PGA Tour cards for the 2011 season.

Steele is 30th on the money list and in need of a good finish in order to get his playing privileges.

"I know what can happen with this game if you start wandering a little bit or get caught up in what's going on," he said. "My caddie's been doing a good job of keeping me focused and that will be the game plan tomorrow."

Joe Affrunti was the final second-round co-leader and he only managed an even- par 72 on Saturday. He is tied for fourth place with Tag Ridings (68) and David Hearn (71) at minus-seven.

J.J. Killeen and Kevin Kisner both carded even-par 72s in round three and share seventh at six-under 210.

Steele flew out of the gate on Saturday with three consecutive birdies to open his round. After a par at the fourth, Steele turned the trick again. He birdied three in a row from the fifth and it could've been better as he narrowly missed an eagle at No. 6.

After his six-birdie start, Steeled cooled. He parred the next seven in a row, but some were far from routine. He stayed at 13-under par until a birdie at the par-three 15th.

Steele saved another nice par, this time at 16. He parred his last two and got into the clubhouse with a five-stroke cushion.

"It was fun today but not as much as you'd think," said Steele. "It's still a grind no matter what's going on, no matter how well you're playing. A hot start makes it a lot easier."

Nationwide Tour money leader Jamie Lovemark (70), Jim Herman (67), Gavin Coles (69), Rob Oppenheim (71) and Hunter Haas (71) share ninth at five-under-par 211.

NOTES: Steven Bowditch aced the 12th hole on Saturday, but he still shot a seven-over 79 and is last at plus-13...With a win, Steele would finish sixth on the money list.


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