On a difficult day for scoring in gusting winds at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas, Palmer battled to a three-over-par 73 for a five-under total of 205. Playing partner Sergio Garcia had been tied for the lead overnight with Palmer but the Spaniard dropped one stroke off the pace after toiling to a four-bogey 74.
India's Arjun Atwal, among the earlier starters, fired a best-of-the-day 67 to share third place at three under with Japan's Ryuji Imada (70) with the final round due to be played later last night. Americans Gary Woodland (68), Joe Ogilvie (72) and Matt Kuchar (68) were a further stroke back at the end of a sweltering afternoon with winds gusting to 39mph on a firm and fast-running layout.
"The scores show how hard it was," Palmer, 34, said after putting himself in position to claim his fourth PGA Tour victory. "It got tougher and tougher. You never could figure out the gusts; that was the hard part. I hit it pretty good I felt. I grinded it out all day, I fought and fought. But my bad round is out of the way, I think and I still lead by one."
Only eight players in the 74-strong field carded sub-par scores in the third round.Garcia, who won the most recent of his seven PGA Tour titles at the 2008 Players Championship, began the day level with Palmer at eight under overall. He slipped one behind with a bogey at the par-three second but regained a share of the lead when Palmer faltered at the sixth after missing the green to the right with his approach. The Spaniard dropped another shot at the par-four eighth, after finding a fairway bunker off the tee and failing to reach the green with his second, to trail by one at the turn. Palmer forged two ahead when he knocked in a nine-footer to birdie the tenth but he slid back to seven under with a bogey at the 14th where he drove into the left rough. With the final three holes playing into a daunting headwind, Palmer and Garcia each bogeyed the par-five 16th.
One ahead with two holes to play, Palmer bogeyed the par-four 18th after pushing his tee shot right into trees from where he was unable to reach the green in two. However, he maintained his one-stroke advantage when Garcia also bogeyed the hole after ending up in the same treeline off the tee and missing an eight-footer for par.