Los Angeles - Bubba Watson swooped for an eagle and five birdies in a six-under par 65 at Riviera Country Club on Saturday to seize a one-shot lead going into the final round of the Genesis Open.
Two-time Masters champion Watson is also a two-time winner at Riviera, claiming the most recent of his nine US PGA Tour titles here in 2016.
His 10-under par total of 203 put him one stroke in front of American Patrick Cantlay, who rolled in a 55-foot birdie putt at the 18th to cap a 69 for nine-under 204.
Cantlay, a Southern California native seeking his second US PGA Tour title, broke free of a chasing pack.
Australian Cameron Smith, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Americans Kevin Na and Tony Finau shared third on 205.
McDowell, who shared the overnight lead with Cantlay, carded a one-under par 70. Na posted a 67, Finau a 68 and Smith climbed up the leaderboard with a bogey-free six-under par 65.
Watson, energized perhaps by his appearance in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at Staples center on Friday night, opened his round with a bang.
His second shot at the par-five first rolled within 18 inches of the pin to give him a tap-in eagle.
He would add four more birdies before his only bogey of the day at the 15th, which he followed with a birdie at 17.
Leading third-round scores on Saturday in the US PGA Tour Genesis Open (USA unless noted, par-71):
203 - Bubba Watson 68-70-65
204 - Patrick Cantlay 66-69-69
205 - Cameron Smith (AUS) 72-68-65, Kevin Na 68-70-67, Tony Finau 66-71-68, Graeme McDowell (NIR) 69-66-70
206 - Derek Fathauer 68-70-68
207 - Justin Thomas 69-71-67, Aaron Baddeley (AUS) 72-68-67, Dustin Johnson 74-69-64, Scott Stallings 71-68-68, Ryan Moore 68-68-71
208 - Anirban Lahiri (IND) 72-69-67, Phil Mickelson 70-71-67, Sam Saunders 67-69-72
209 - Xander Schauffele 71-70-68, Martin Laird (SCO) 68-73-68, James Hahn 70-69-70, Jason Kokrak 68-72-69
210 - Jonas Blixt (SWE) 71-71-68, Vaughn Taylor 72-70-68, Jordan Spieth 71-70-69, Talor Gooch 73-70-67, Kevin Chappell 69-71-70, Adam Hadwin (CAN) 70-74-66
211 - Bud Cauley 70-72-69, Kang Sung (KOR) 70-72-69, Li HaoTong (CHN) 71-71-69, Pat Perez 72-70-69, Branden Grace (RSA) 70-72-69, Dominic Bozzelli 67-75-69, Kevin Streelman 72-70-69, Alex Noren (SWE) 71-69-71, Tom Hoge 67-73-71, Troy Merritt 68-71-72, Jamie Lovemark 68-70-73