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Haas in Good Position to Repeat at Riviera
Bill Haas is primed for his second consecutive victory in the Northern Trust Open. The 30-year-old fired Saturday's low round, a 7-under 64, to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the 6.6 million PGA Tour event at famed Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Haas stands at 12-under 201 thanks five birdies and an eagle on the short par-4 10th. At the 10th, he chipped in from 57 feet on the drivable hole and then added two more birdies coming home to form a sizable gap between Webb Simpson (68), Charl Schwartzel (68) and John Merrick (70).
Along with the birdies on his bogey-free scorecard, Haas was pleased with other elements of his game. "I made some great up-and-downs out there for pars," he said at greenside. "The chip-in at 10 was a nice bonus. I'm feeling good . . . working on a swing thought that works. Things are clicking out there."
Thanks to hot, dry conditions in Southern California, the George Thomas-designed masterpiece is playing hard and fast. More of the same is expected Sunday.
Simpson was impressed his Haas's outing on a course that's playing quite difficult. "Bill shooting 7-under out there is incredible. I shot 68 and I thought that was pretty good," the 2012 U.S. Open champion told PGATour.com.
After getting off to a rocky start with a lone birdie and three bogeys on the front nine, erstwhile No. 1-ranked Luke Donald turned things around on the back with four birdies and a bogey for a 70. He's tied for fifth at 206 with 36-hole co-leader Fredrick Jacobson (72). Josh Teater (68) and Charlie Beljan (68) are another stroke back.
Tied for ninth at 6-under 207 are Hunter Mahan (68) and Sergio Garcia (69), while one shot further down the leaderboard are Adam Scott (70) and Ryan Moore (71).
Jim Furyk (69), Canada's Graham DeLaet (69) Ted Potter, Jr. (71) and South Korean Sang-Moon Bae (76) share 13th at 209. Bae began the third round tied for the lead with Jacobson, but stumbled Saturday with two birdies, five bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-5 17th hole.
Tied for 17th at 210 are Keegan Bradley (69), Greg Owen (70), Phil Mickelson (72), Stewart Cink (67) and Lee Westwood (74).
Two-time Riviera winner Fred Couples has posted rounds of 68, 72 and 73 and is now in 45th with eight other players at 2-over 213.
Haas told PGATour.com that his spirits have been buoyed by the support he's gotten this week from the gallery. "You hear a lot of people out there yelling, 'Do it again,' which is nice," he said. "It gives you some good mojo."
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