FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Tim Clark birdied the 18th hole for a 4-under 66 on Saturday that gave him a two-stroke lead going into the final round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational.

Clark moved ahead of playing partner Steve Stricker with a birdie on the 11th hole.

, then strung together pars until No. 18.

The South African was at 17-under 193 as he chased his first PGA Tour victory. He’s finished second six times, including this tournament last year, getting nipped when Phil Mickelson birdied the final hole.

“I had a great final round last year. I’m going to need that again,” Clark said. “I’m in a different position being in the last group. I just have to stay calm.”

Stricker, Steve Marino and Jason Day were at 195. Marino and Day are also seeking their first PGA Tour wins.

Marino was the day’s big mover, shooting a 62 for the best round of the tournament so far. It felt even better since his mom, who grew up in Fort Worth, was in the gallery with a group of her childhood friends. He got them shouting with birdies on Nos. 11-13, all set up by approach shots within 5 feet.

“I just felt really in control of everything,” he said. “It was a great feeling.”

Day shot his third straight 65 and has a local tie, too – he moved to Fort Worth last year and plays often at Colonial Country Club.

“My mind is in a really good spot right now,” he said.

Stricker started the day in the lead after consecutive 63s. He birdied the second hole, then had nothing but pars for a 69.

“It was kind of a blah round today,” he said. “But I’ve got a chance tomorrow.”

Most golfers wore pink as part of a breast cancer awareness project in honor of Amy Mickelson, wife of the reigning champ. He withdrew last week after her breast-cancer diagnosis was announced.

Tournament staffers and much of the gallery also took part in the “pink out.” CBS broadcaster David Feherty really took to it, going pink from head (cap, sunglasses and spray-painted beard) to toe (pants and shoes).

“I think it’s a really cool thing,” said Marino, adding that he’s never worn pink on the course before.

Added Clark: “I think what we were able to do today is great.”

AP-ES-05-30-09 1840EDT


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