PGA Tour

Stallings holds Humana lead

2013-01-20 11:43
Scott Stallings (AP)

La Quinta, California - American Scott Stallings made two eagles and five birdies during a flawless nine-under par 63 on Saturday that secured him a five-stroke lead at the US PGA Tour's Humana Challenge.

Stallings has yet to drop a shot after 54 holes in the California desert and will start Sunday's final round on 22-under 194, poised to claim a third PGA Tour victory in as many seasons.

"I've been aggressive," said the 27-year-old, whose third-round effort came on the Nicklaus Course, one of three par-72 layouts in use over the first three days of the event.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Humana Challenge, Day 3

"I've been smart when I got out of position. Just because I played really good, doesn't mean that I've hit it perfect on every single hole.

"I scrambled a little bit, but when I got out of position off the tee, I played smart. I hit it in the middle of the green and just kind of accepted par and moved on and was really aggressive when I had the opportunity."

Stallings said he'd take the same approach into Sunday's final round on the Palmer Course. The leader's nearest rivals will be former British Open champion Stewart Cink, Roberto Castro, Charles Howell, John Rollins and Charley Hoffman.

Cink carded a 66 to join the group sharing second on 199. Rollins carded a 64, Castro shot 69 and Howell and Hoffman both posted third-round 67s.

It was a further stroke back to a group of eight players on 200. They included South Korean Bae Sang-moon (64) and Brian Stuard, who shot a career-low 62 on the Nicklaus course which could have been even better.

Stuard posted his second eagle of the day at the par-five 16th to get to 11-under for the day, but he couldn't manage a birdie at the par-three 17th and closed with a bogey.

"I kind of thought (about 59) after I hit my tee shot on 17," admitted Stuard, who was outside the projected cut line going into the round.

"I had a chance there and just kind of left it on the top edge."

Despite the wealth of low scores in the balmy desert weather, Cink said it would be hard to make up a five-stroke deficit on Sunday.

"You're going to have to go out there and really be aggressive and play well and really make some putts," he said.

Phil Mickelson, making his 2013 season debut, had six birdies in his six-under 66 on the Palmer Course. His 11-under total saw him make the cut with two strokes to spare.

The cut came after three rounds to allow all players to play each course in the rotation.

Leading third-round scores on Saturday in the $5.6m US PGA Tour Humana Challenge on the Palmer Course, Nicklaus Course and La Quinta Country Club course (USA unless noted, all par-72):

194 - Scott Stallings 66-65-63
199 - Roberto Castro 63-67-69, Stewart Cink 66-67-66, Charles Howell 67-65-67, John Rollins 70-65-64, Charley Hoffman 65-67-67
200 - Bae Sang-moon (KOR) 67-69-64, Kevin Streelman 69-65-66, Brian Stuard 71-67-62, Kevin Stadler 66-66-68, Brian Gay 67-66-67, Ryan Palmer 65-69-66, Billy Horschel 67-68-65, Lee Williams 67-65-68
201 - Jason Kokrak 63-69-69, David Lingmerth (SWE) 68-64-69, Nicholas Thompson 69-66-66, Richard H. Lee 66-65-70
202 - Daniel Summerhays 65-68-69, Zach Johnson 66-66-70, James Hahn 63-67-72, Ricky Barnes 65-68-69, Robert Garrigus 66-67-69, Jimmy Walker 66-70-66, Bo Van Pelt 66-68-68, Brandt Snedeker 67-68-67, Bryce Molder 66-68-68, Aaron Baddeley (AUS) 64-68-70, Ben Kohles 68-68-66

Read more on:    pga tour  |  humana challenge  |  golf
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