Tiger Woods knocked a 9-iron shot into the cup for an eagle on his way to a 65. Skip Kendall went even lower, with a 64, and front-runner Billy Mayfair refused to wilt.
But at the end of the day, Tommy Armour III edged in front at the Nissan Open.Armour, who hasn't won in eight years and is in the tournament only because of a sponsor's exemption, continued what has been an impressive 1998 comeback Saturday, shooting a 5-under-par 67 to take a one-shot lead.
Playing his third solid round, Armour went to 9-under to jump atop a crowded leaderboard that had 12 players at 4-under or lower.
Mayfair, who led the first two days, plugged along with another up-and-down round that gave him a 69 and left him alone in second.
Woods, looking for his first tour victory since last July, was in a group two strokes off the pace with Kendall, who lost a playoff to Scott Simpson at San Diego earlier this month; Bob Estes, Scott Hoch and Payne Stewart.
Estes shot a 67, Hoch a 68 and Stewart a 69.
Among the others within close striking range of the lead was Hal Sutton, winner of the 1983 PGA Championship and seven other titles, who had a 66 to go to 6-under at Valencia Country Club.
The tournament is being played in Valencia because the usual host course, Riviera Country Club, is being prepared for the U.S. Senior Open in July.
Woods, who has finished no worse than third in the three tour tournaments he's played this year, got rolling when his second shot, from 142 yards on the par-4, 422-yard fourth hole, went into the cup.
The 38-year-old Armour, who lost his tour card last year and hasn't regained it, already has a pair of top-10 finishes this year, a tie for second at Phoenix and a tie for sixth at San Diego.
After finishing 131st on the money list last year, one spot lower than needed to keep his card, Armour failed to get it back during the qualifying school. He shot a final-round 77 to miss qualifying by two shots.
Armour joined the tour in 1982 and his only victory came at Phoenix in 1990. He played in 30 events last year, but his best finish was a tie for 17th.
He has won $244,350 in three tournaments this year, which is more than he has made in an entire year since 1990, when he earned $348,658.
At Gold Coast, Australia, Karrie Webb knows that the pressure will be on her Sunday to win her first pro tournament in her native Aus-tral-ia.
Webb shot a course-record 64 Saturday to grab a five-stroke lead after the third round of the $700,000 Australian Ladies Masters.
Dubai Desert Classic
At Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Robert Karlsson shot a 5-under-par 67 Saturday to take a two-shot lead after the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic.
Karlsson, a 28-year-old Swede, fired six birdies as he continued to set the pace in the European PGA Tour opener with an 18-under 198 after 54 holes on the par-72 Emirates Golf Course.