PGA Tour

Knost relinquishes RBC Heritage lead to Pettersson

Pettersson up by 1 in quest for tartan jacket

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comApril 15, 2012 

Colt Knost rolled an on-target putt, which traveled a good portion of No. 18 green at Harbour Town Golf Links before dying on the lip of the cup.

As he walked to clean up his par, Carl Pettersson's caddie, Grant Berry, delivered a zinger Knost couldn't repeat during a post-round interview. But Knost laughed.

The light-hearted nature of their pairing might keep Sunday nerves calm as Knost tries to win his first PGA Tour event and Pettersson tries for his fourth.

Pettersson, a Swede, owns a one-shot lead on Knost after a birdie on the last gave him a 66 and 12-under-par total entering the final round of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. Knost, who trailed by as many as three shots during Saturday's round, shot 69 -- his third round in the 60s -- to earn a spot with his buddy.

"It was laid back," said Pettersson, who made five consecutive birdies to snatch the lead from third-round leader Knost. "I'm sure it will be pretty even keel tomorrow."

A little laughter today would be a contrast to some of the Sunday bloodbaths on tour this season. Bluffton resident Kyle Stanley led by as many as seven shots during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open before losing to Brandt Snedeker in a two-hole playoff. Spencer Levin blew a six-shot lead on the final day of the Waste Management Phoenix Open the following week.

Both players were caught by low rounds, but both had the opportunity to close.

Knost has won twice on the Nationwide Tour but has been shut out during his stint on the big tour. Pettersson has survived the final-round pressure to win, but said it wasn't easy.

The former North Carolina State golfer's most recent victory was the 2010 RBC Canadian Open. He owns two runner-up finishes this year.

"I'm not Phil or Tiger or anybody," Pettersson said. "It's difficult. But if you want to win, that's what you've got to do."

Zach Johnson will be among those trying to chase down the big men. He shot 66 Saturday to climb to 8 under, four shots back. He'll play with two-time Heritage champion Boo Weekley, who starts the final round another shot back at 7 under.

Pettersson and Knost cast a similar shadow but have take different paths to the final group. Pettersson talked of his self-made swing. Knost has worked since he was a teenager with well-known swing instructor Randy Smith, head golf professional at his home course of Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas.

And recently, Knost has worked on his mind. He talked with sports psychologist Neale Smith before Saturday's round and planned to talk again Saturday night. Smith told Knost he would have to learn to handle rocky stretches.

"And I handled them really well," Knost said. "I could have gotten rattled pretty easy after that start. I hit it about 190 off the first tee today. But like I said, I'm really proud of the way I hung in."

He stuck around after Pettersson delivered his bid to pull away, roaring to 5 under on his round through the first six holes. Another birdie at No. 10 gave Pettersson a three-shot lead. But he slid with a bogey at No. 11 after a poor second shot and another dropped shot at the par-5 15th, after his pitch shot fell short in the greenside bunker and he failed to get up and down.

Fired up after the bogey at the 15th, Pettersson jammed a 9-iron inside 10 feet on the 18th and rolled in the putt. He walked off the green sharing another light moment with Knost.

The similar pair confused the spectators at times Saturday. After Knost laid up with an iron on the par-5 15th, a man yelled, "Great play, Carl."

Colt smiled.

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