Following a second-round 63 at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by KraftHeinz, Eugene, Oregon native Scott Harrington made seven birdies against a lone bogey to post a third-round 65.
At 18-under 195, Harrington will take a one-stroke lead into the final round over Kristoffer Ventura at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s Witch Hollow Course.
“This is home,” Harrington said. “This place made me, and this is where I grew up. It’s very special to hear my name announced from Portland and it’s special to have the big crowd around the first tee and watching me the whole day. It was awesome. I love this place and I love everyone coming out in full force.”
Harrington takes at least a share of the 54-hole lead for the second time on the Korn Ferry Tour. At the 2012 Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper, he finished second after holding a share of the lead through three rounds.
Harrington, a three-time runner up on the Korn Ferry Tour, remains in search of his first career victory in his 193rd start this week. In five previous starts at the WinCo Foods Portland Open, a T30 finish in 2017 remains his best showing.
“I just don’t think it’s important to look at the leaderboard on Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” Harrington said. “I figured guys were going to keep moving forward, so I kept the pedal to the medal. All week I’ve been seeing the lines really well. I just feel great with the putter, overall a good day. To shoot 6-under in the last group, I’ll take that any day of the week.”
Harrington credits his ability to see the intricacies of the greens for his solid play this week. But, on Sunday, his sights will be on something much larger than the game of golf.
Harrington’s wife, Jenn, is in remission following a battle against Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which included over a year of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Having been following her husband’s progress each week from home, Jenn is traveling to Portland to be in the gallery for Sunday’s final round.
“I’m actually heading to the airport now,” Harrington said. “My wife is flying in…I think she’s actually calling me from the airport as we speak. I’m going to go pick her up and grab something quick to eat and rest up for a big day tomorrow.”
Harrington, who entered the week at No. 38 in The 25 after last week’s T11 finish at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae, is currently projected to move to No. 9 in The 25.
“The first thing I thought of when they started this event six years ago was how cool it would be to get my PGA TOUR card here surrounded by friends and family,” Harrington said. “That hasn’t changed. I’m going to go out tomorrow and give them hell.”
A day after putting himself in position with an 8-under 63 of his own, Norway’s Kristoffer Ventura eagled the par-5 fifth for a second straight day en route to a 6-under 65. A bogey at the par-5 18th dropped him from a share of the lead.
At 17-under 196, Ventura will begin Sunday’s final round a stroke off the lead.
“My game feels really good, but it was unfortunate to end the day with a bogey on a par-5,” Ventura said. “But, there’s always tomorrow. We practice to put ourselves in this position and so I feel like I’m right there.”
Via sudden death, Ventura won the Utah Championship in June. In his most recent start before this week, he won the Pinnacle Bank Championship in Omaha, Nebraska. With his PGA TOUR card locked up for the 2019-20 season, he is projected to move to No. 3 in The 25.
“A win tomorrow would be awesome, just like it was the second time and first time,” Ventura said. ”To be able to beat everyone in the field is a pretty cool feeling. As far as tomorrow goes, who knows what will happen. As long as I give it my best, I’ll be happy no matter what happens.”
Making his first start at the WinCo Foods Portland Open, Ventura is competing for just the ninth time on the Korn Ferry Tour.
On the strength of the low round of the day, an 8-under 63, Ohio’s Bo Hoag made seven birdies and an eagle against one bogey to move to 16-under 197 and into a share of third place with 36-hole leader, Vince India.
The final round will feature twosomes off No. 1 tee from 8:40 a.m. to 2 p.m.