Hilton Head - Charley Hoffman, seeking his first PGA Tour win in three years, fired a five-under par 66 on Saturday to seize a two-shot lead after three rounds of the Heritage tournament.
Hoffman played without a bogey to build a 54-hole total of 11-under 202. He was two shots in front of fellow American Webb Simpson, who carded a 65 for 204.
Hoffman, Steve LeBrun and Kevin Streelman had shared the 36-hole lead in the $5.8 million event after the rain-disrupted second round concluded on Saturday morning.
A record-tying 91 players made the halfway cut, with another cut reducing the field further after 54 holes.
Defending champion Carl Pettersson of Sweden, 2011 winner Brandt Snedeker and German Martin Kaymer all made the second cut right on the line at two-over.
Once the third round got underway, Hoffman was on the move. He drained a 31-foot birdie putt at the first, birdied four of his first five, and ended up needing just 21 putts in the round.
Hoffman nabbed his last birdie of the third round at the par-five 15th, where he rolled in a 38-footer.
He put himself in position to nab a third career tour title and his first since 2010 in Boston. He finished tied for third at the Texas Open earlier this month.
"Once you learn what side of the fairway to leave it on and where to miss, you have a real big advantage," Hoffman said.
Simpson, the US Open champion who missed the cut at the Masters, notched the lowest score of the third round to climb up the leaderboard.
Streelman was in third place after a 69 for an eight-under total of 205. It was a further stroke back to Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge (67) and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell (68) on 206.
Simpson, who hasn't won since his US Open triumph last year, had six birdies and no bogeys.
"It's all in my swing," said Simpson, who hit 15 greens in regulation.
"We've been working on the same thing all year. We knew where we wanted to get, we just didn't know how to work on it. Once we found out how to work on it, everything clicked."
Leading third-round scores here on Saturday in the $5.8 million PGA Tour Heritage tournament (USA unless noted, par-71)
202 - Charley Hoffman 66-70-66
204 - Webb Simpson 68-71-65
205 - Kevin Streelman 66-70-69
206 - Brendon de Jonge (ZIM) 70-69-67, Graeme McDowell (NIR) 71-67-68
- Jerry Kelly 69-72-66, Ryo Ishikawa (JPN) 68-72-67, Camilo Villegas
(COL) 68-71-68, Justin Hicks 69-70-68, Tim Clark (RSA) 68-71-68, Billy
Horschel 71-68-68, Bill Haas 68-69-70, Steve LeBrun 68-68-71
Jim Furyk 70-72-66, Richard H. Lee 68-71-69, Jordan Spieth 70-69-69,
Pat Perez 68-70-70, Stuart Appleby (AUS) 70-68-70, Luke Donald (ENG)
209 - Chris Stroud 70-70-69, Marc Leishman (AUS) 67-71-71, Johnson Wagner 67-71-71
- Matt Jones (AUS) 75-67-68, Will Claxton 68-73-69, Russell Henley
73-70-67, Brian Davis (ENG) 65-75-70, Scott Brown 72-68-70, James Hahn
71-73-66, Darron Stiles 70-69-71, Trevor Immelman (RSA) 72-72-66, Ben
Crane 70-74-66, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 69-69-72