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Sutherland shoots for first tour win in today’s final round

He’s tied with Briggs for the lead at Buy.com

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The way co-leader David Sutherland played Saturday — a 1-over par 73 — was closer to what he expected of himself when he entered the Buy.com Utah Classic.

His first two rounds of 63 and 64 gave him a six-shot lead heading into moving day, and his 1-over par kept him in a tie for the lead with Danny Briggs, who fired a 5-under 67.

Meanwhile, Rod Pampling fired a 66 and is tied for third with Jason Buha and Mike Heinen five shots back.

Jay Delsing and Bob Heintz are six back at 206, and seven players are seven shots back.

Sutherland is hoping his level of play the first two days returns today in the final round at Willow Creek Country Club as he shoots for his first tour win.

Since 1990 he has finished second in the Greater Milwaukee Open and third twice and has seven Top 10 finishes.

"I'd be a little disappointed if I walked away from here with two bad rounds after two such good rounds," he said.

Briggs is bracing for it.

"David didn't play real well today," said Briggs, who hasn't won a tournament in 16 years on tour but has three career Top 10 finishes on the PGA tour. "I expect him to play better Sunday. I would think it's going to take something in the ball park of 20 (under) to win this thing."

Briggs quickly made up ground with birdies on the two of the first three holes, while Sutherland carded two bogies after only one bogey in the first two rounds.

Briggs pulled within a stroke with a birdie on No. 10. Sutherland birdied No. 12 and then hit a 7-iron to within four feet from 200 yards out and nailed the four-foot eagle putt to take a three-shot lead.

"It's the best swing I've made all week long," Sutherland said. "That was one of those moments that I was playing as well as I was Friday."

Briggs took a 1-shot lead at the par 3 15th when he drained a 15-foot birdie putt from the green's second cut. Sutherland bogeyed — his fifth of the day.

Sutherland birdied No. 17, and Briggs made par and then made bogey on No. 18 to fall back into a tie.

"I tried to stay aggressive, and toward the end I was too aggressive. My swing got a little too quick, and I was swinging too hard at it. I didn't relax and let it go," Briggs said.

"To be honest with you, my nerves got a little bit rattled down the stretch there. That's natural and that's going to happen."

Final round play begins this morning at 8:33 a.m. with Sutherland and Briggs teeing off in the final group at 2:06 p.m.

NOTES: Sandy's Milan Swilor fired a 2-under par 70 Saturday and is 11 shots back at 211 as is Richard Zokol; St. George's Brad Sutterfield is at 214 and Sandy's Randy McCracken is at 214. . . Rob McMillan carded a hole-in-one on the 174-yard par 3 5th. He used a 6-iron.

E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com