(Reuters) - Jon Rahm and team mate Ryan Palmer had an eventful finish to the third round at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Saturday, both finding water off the 17th tee, but still ended the day tied for the lead with Scott Stallings and Trey Mullinax.
After Palmer had dumped his tee shot into the water at the 225-yard par three, Spaniard Rahm inexplicably followed his American partner into the hazard in the fourball format at TPC Louisiana.
Palmer made sure the pair dropped only one shot, however, his third from the tee landing eight feet from the cup before he drained the bogey putt.
Rahm made up for his mistake by sinking a long birdie at the last as they carded an eight-under-par 64, sharing the lead on 23-under 193 with Stallings and Mullinax (62).
One stroke back is South African duo Branden Grace and Justin Harding, who combined for a sizzling 12-birdie 61.
“It was a big eight-footer for sure to make bogey,” a relieved Palmer said of the 17th. “It was a struggle for me that back nine. I rode Jon.”
Co-leaders Stallings and Mullinax have gelled well, feeding off each other’s strengths.
“Trey played great today. I was along for the ride for a while,” Stallings said of his long-hitting partner.
Mullinax said his partner’s putting prowess was making it easy for him.
“He’s playing great golf so it takes a lot of pressure off me,” said the world number 217, who is seeking a breakthrough PGA Tour win.
“I know if I mess up he’ll bail me out.
“Scott got his putter hot, made some nice putts where I could just pick my ball up. We kept calling it room service.”
The third-placed team of Grace and Harding had the day’s best score. Grace missed the event last year to be present for the birth of his son, but has returned with a new partner.
“Louis (Oosthuizen) fired me so I had to get a better partner,” Grace joked. “It was sad missing it last year but it’s great to be back.”
Earlier on Saturday, half the field returned to complete the weather-delayed second round.
Rahm and Palmer combined for a bogey-free 65 in the alternate shot foursomes and took the halfway lead at 15-under 129.
Sunday’s final round will also use the foursomes format.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond/Peter Rutherford