Adam Long takes two-shot lead into final round in Punta Cana

We’re not at Winged Foot anymore. Through 54 holes of the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship, Adam Long leads the way at 17 under. Here’s where things stand entering the final round in the Dominican Republic:

Leaderboard: Long (-17), Hudson Swafford (-15), Mackenzie Hughes (-14), Xinjun Zhang (-13), Nate Lashley (-12), Sean O’Hair (-12)

What it means: Coming off his best career major finish, Long is eyeing his second career Tour victory – and some exemptions into more majors. His first-round 70 became a distant memory as he followed his second-round 65 with a 64 Saturday to build a two-shot lead over Swafford. Long tied for 13th last week at Winged Foot, and should he win Sunday, he will score invites to next year’s Masters and PGA Championship, as well as the Sentry TOC and Players Championship. That will make up for narrowly missing the Tour Championship last month.

Round of the day: In addition to Long’s 64, in which he closed with nine one-putts in his last 10 holes, Anirban Lahiri used eight birdies to put together a bogey-free third round of his own. Remember Lahiri? He was once a top-40 player in the world back in 2015 but is currently No. 690 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

How will Long (64) win in Punta Cana? ‘Birdie every hole’

Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship: Full-field scores | Full coverage

Best of the rest: Lashley used six birdies in an eight-hole stretch to card 65, as he finds himself in contention for the first time since his T-3 in Phoenix. Lashley had missed 10 of 12 weekends entering this week’s event. … Hughes was a popular sleeper pick at the U.S. Open before his missed the cut. He’s since shot 68 or better for three straight days this week and is just three shots back.

Biggest disappointment: It wasn’t a great day for LSU. As the Tigers struggled on the gridiron against Mississippi State, former Tiger standout Sam Burns dropped 56 spots on the leaderboard with a 6-over 78.

Shots of the day: Hughes chipped in for birdie not once but twice in his final four holes, at Nos. 15 and 17.

Quote of the day: “Big contrast from the U.S. Open to here obviously. That was just such a mental grind, it was just trying to hit a fairway. You’re probably going to miss it and then you try to get it up on the green and try to make pars. Here, it’s a lot different landscape, it’s more of pretty open. It seems really wide open coming from Winged Foot, but it’s a lot of drivers and trying to hit it as far as you can. This is more about making birdies. … It’s not as mentally taxing to every time you step on a tee be like, how am I going to make a par on this hole, versus here you can get away with some mis-hits and stuff and you can grind out a par a little easier.” – Long

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