Gooch, seeking 1st Tour win, leads RSM Classic

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ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Talor Gooch is playing some of his best golf in the toughest weather, even when he hasn’t been in the best position off the tee. Now the former Oklahoma State player is one round away from his first PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic.

Gooch hit only six fairways Saturday at Sea Island and still managed a 3-under 67, stretching his lead to three shots going into the final round.

“Any day like that is going to be a grind on the tour,” Gooch said. “To be frank, what you’re trying to do out there is avoid bogeys. It would have been easy today at times to just really get conservative and really be defensive. I was pleased I was able to stay aggressive at times.”

He was at 16-under 196, three shots clear of Seamus Power of Ireland (67) and Sebastian Munoz of Colombia (69).

Tom Hoge, also in search of his first win, had a 67 and was alone in fourth, while Luke List (66), former RSM Classic winner Mackenzie Hughes of Canada (70) and Scott Stallings (69) were another shot behind.

Gooch, who pulled away with a short birdie putt at the par-5 15th hole and a 12-footer for birdie at the par-3 17th, has four top-11 finishes in his six tournaments and is on the cusp of breaking into the top 50 in the world.

“I want to be the best and I want to compete against the best and I want to be the best Oklahoma State golfer on tour,” Gooch said. “Everyone talks about Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland … rightfully so. They’re incredible players. But that’s always a nice little something to kind of get you to work a little bit harder, be a little bit more diligent and try to prove them wrong.”

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