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Golf roundup: Johnson Wagner passing Greenbrier test

Johnson Wagner had reason to feel good about the third round — this birdie on 18 was his seventh of the day.

chris trotman/getty images

Johnson Wagner had reason to feel good about the third round — this birdie on 18 was his seventh of the day.

Amid a disappointing season, Johnson Wagner has found a comfort zone not far from his college stomping grounds.

Wagner shot a 6-under-par 64 Saturday to take a two-stroke lead after the third round of the Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

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Wagner was at 14 under on the Old White TPC course. Jimmy Walker also shot 64 and was second at 12 under.

Wagner has yet to post a top-10 finish this year. At the Greenbrier, he broke a string of seven consecutive early exits. In his two previous tournaments, he had three birdies combined. He had seven Saturday.

‘‘I felt really comfortable all day,’’ Wagner said. ‘‘I hit a lot of good golf shots. I’ve got a really clear picture of what I’m trying to do on every swing.’’

Wagner played golf at Virginia Tech, less than two hours from The Greenbrier resort. Several members of his wife’s family have joined them for the weekend, and hoots from Hokies fans could be heard around the golf course.

No third-round leader has gone on to win the Greenbrier Classic, now in its fourth year. The tournament has been decided by playoffs the past two years, and Stuart Appleby shot 59 in the final round to win by a stroke in 2010.

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After seven straight pars on the front nine, Walker ran off five birdies down the stretch, including a 17-foot putt on the par-3 18th.

Walker is hoping to secure a spot in the British Open in two weeks. After the Greenbrier Classic, the leading five players not already exempt from inside the top 20 in the FedExCup points standings will earn a spot at Muirfield. Walker is 24th.

‘‘I have a room booked,’’ Walker said. ‘‘I might as well go use it.’’

European — Graeme McDowell and Richard Sterne shared a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the French Open in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

McDowell shot a 1-under 70 while Sterne had a 71, leaving both at 5-under 208.

Bernd Wiesberger (68), David Howell (69), and Richard Green (70) were at 209.

Second-round leader Fabrizio Zanotti fell to 214 after a 78.

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