Haas shoots 64 to take lead at Riviera
By Doug Ferguson ,AP
February 18, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
LOS ANGELES -- Bill Haas had another bogey-free round at Riviera while shooting a 7-under 64 — the best round of the day by three shots — on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final day of the Northern Trust Open.
U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson and former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel each had a 68 to be the nearest chasers, along with John Merrick, who bogeyed the last to finish with a 70.
The key for Haas was a seven-hole span in the middle of his round that he played in 6-under par, including a chip-in for eagle on the par-4 10th. He was at 12-under 201 and will try to become the eighth back-to-back winner in the 76-year history of this tournament.
“It's very difficult in this game to just pull away from the rest of the field,” Haas said. “You've only seen a few guys ever really do that, and those are guys like Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson. I've just got to stay in the moment, don't let my emotions get the best of me.”
A year ago, Haas was two shots behind going into the final round and wound up winning in a playoff over Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. This time, he has a comfortable margin over U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson and former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who each thought they did well for a 68.
Luke Donald overcame a sloppy start — three bogeys in a six-hole stretch — with four birdies on the back nine to salvage a 70 that put him four shots behind, along with second-round leader Fredrik Jacobson (72).
Mickelson was hopeful of making a move and instead went the other direction. He missed three par putts of about 6 feet on the front nine and had a 72, putting him nine shots behind. Ernie Els, playing with Mickelson, also dropped shots early and dropped out of the hunt with a 73.