LARRY Mize continued his Caribbean crusade for a bumper US$550,000 Christmas bonus with a third successive sub-par return in the Johnnie Walker World Championship in Jamaica. The smooth-swinging American, a late wild-card entry into the US$2.7 million event, bounded clear at the top of the leaderboard in the 28-man field with a three-under-par 68 at the Tryall Club. Mize's 54-hole total of 201 is three strokes clear of his closest challenger, Scotland's Colin Montgomerie - the only player with any apparent chance of denying victory to the 1987 US Masters champion. Not that 35-year-old Mize is anticipating an easy ride. ''I expect another tough day and I know I will have to play awfully well to stay in front. There is a lot of golf left,'' said Mize, who three-putted the last for what may yet prove to be a costly bogey. Montgomerie, European Tour Order of Merit champion, certainly hopes so. After draining a 35-foot eagle putt at the long 17th to match Mize's 68, Montgomerie said: ''Anyone can come a cropper at any hole here and nothing is cut and dry at this stage.'' Having won the Volvo Masters six weeks ago to clinch the merit title, Montgomerie is in relaxed mood. He said: ''Because of what happened last month (winning the Volvo Masters), there is no pressure on me. I'm just enjoying myself. It is Mize who has everything to lose. I can go for it.'' Mize will certainly not be able to count on receiving the amount of good breaks that went his way in the third round when three times on the back nine he was fortunate to escape serious danger. Having turned in four-under 31, Mize pushed his drive at the 392-yard, par-four 10th within inches of the out of bounds markers. He pitched out and got away with a five. At the par-three 15th - a hole at which the hopes of joint overnight leader Steve Elkington and defending champion Nick Faldo were ended - Mize watched anxiously as his four-iron tee-shot cleared the brook short of the green by less than two yards. A wayward drive at the 18th came perilously close to going out of bounds and despite three-putting for bogey, Mize was mightily relieved to have escaped so lightly on a day when the wind blew stronger than during the first two rounds. Seven shots off the pace in third place is Germany's Bernhard Langer after a 69, while first round leader Ernie Els of South Africa and American Brad Faxon are tied for fourth on 209. A further stroke adrift are Elkington - who had a 77 - and South African Fulton Allem. Despite also straying into the water at the 15th and taking five, world number one Faldo returned a 69, his best round of the tournament, although he later conceded that making up 10 shots on Mize is too tall an order.