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Stallings Grabs Five-Shot Lead in Humana Challenge


Scott Stallings fired a 9-under 63 to take a substantial five-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Humana Challenge. The $5.6 million PGA Tour is taking place on three courses - La Quinta Country Club and the Nicklaus Private and Palmer courses at PGA West - in La Quinta, Calif.

Stallings, a 27-year-old from Massachusetts, carded five birdies and two eagles - both on par-5s - Saturday at the Nicklaus course. The two-time Tour winner, who began with rounds of 66 and 65, reached 22-under 194 for his big margin over five players.

Tied for second at 199 are Roberto Castro (69), Stewart Cink (66), Charles Howell III (67), John Rollins (64) and Charley Hoffman (67). Castro and Hoffman posted their scores at La Quinta CC, while Cink and Howell put up their numbers at Palmer and Rollins at Nicklaus.

Cink spoke for the field when he said the conditions were ripe for going low. "Today the weather was just so perfect out there, there really is no way to improve the conditions," said the 2009 British Open champion, who had three birdies on the front nine and three more on the back. "It's the very best it could possibly be."

Sharing seventh at 200 were Sang-Moon Bae (64), Kevin Streelman (66), Kevin Stadler (68), Brian Gay (67), Ryan Palmer (66), Lee Willaims (68) and Billy Horschel (65). Also in that group is Brian Stuard, who fired the low round of the tournament, a 10-under 62 at Nicklaus Private.

Instead of finalizing the field for the last two rounds after 36 holes, the cut - set Saturday at 10-under par - in the Humana Challenge took place after three rounds, with the top-70 and ties playing in Sunday's final round at the Palmer course. Among those making the cut is the winner in last week's Sony Open, Russell Henley, who qualified for Sunday by reaching 12-under 204.

Phil Mickelson, making his 2013 season debut, also made the cut after a 66 at Palmer.

Saturday was "Military Appreciation Day" at the tournament, the former Bob Hope Classic. All active-duty military, reserve, veterans and retirees - along with their dependents - received free admission. The event featured speakers, including Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.), Hope's daughter Linda Hope, and PGA Tour veteran David Toms. A flyover by two Navy F-5 jets also took place.

For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.