Scott Hoch, Larry Mize and Grant Waite all breezed through the back nine Saturday at the Canon Greater Hartford Open and were tied for the third-round lead with 13-under totals.
Hoch, who began the day at 7-under, three strokes behind second-round leader Scott Gump, shot the low round of the three leaders with a 6-under 64. It included a 31 on the back nine as he closed with an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 18.The eight-time PGA Tour champion had six other birdies in his round and he took advantage of the late afternoon winds to drive the 296-yard, par-4 15th.
"Fortunately for me I was able to hit the green with my drive and two-putt for birdie. That's something I don't normally do," said Hoch, whose best finish this year was second in the Kemper Open last month.
Hoch's last tour victory was the Greater Milwaukee Open last year. Mize and Waite have gone winless on tour since 1993.
Waite had a 65 Saturday, while Mize had a 66. They played in the same group and both parred every hole on the front nine. They then combined for nine birdies on the back and said they fed off each other's successes. One of the highlights, they agreed, was Waite holing a bunker shot at No. 11, where they both made a birdie.
"I said to Larry after I made the bunker shot, `I hope that opened the door for both of us,' " Waite said. "He made the putt, away we went. The last eight holes was a lot of fun."
Olin Browne, David Duval and defending champion Stewart Cink were all tied at 11-under 199. Browne and Duval had third-round 66s, while Cink had a 67.
Gump had a 72, 10 strokes off his second-round 62 that tied the course record, and finished at 8-under 202.
Donnie Hammond was on pace to break the course record when he unraveled on No. 17, the TPC at River Highlands' signature 441-yard par-4. He had seven birdies and an eagle in the third round and was 12 under for the tournament when he reached the 17th tee. He then put three balls in the water, took a 10 and vanished from the leaderboard.
STATE FARM SENIOR CLASSIC: At Columbia, Md., David Graham literally put himself in the driver's seat after shooting a 7-under-par 65 Saturday in the State Farm Senior Classic.
Graham, still recovering from a back injury caused by a cart mishap, used a bogey-free round to move into a first-place tie with Tom Jenkins after two rounds of the 54-hole tournament.
Terry Dill had a 68 for a 135. Graham Marsh, who began the day a stroke behind Jenkins, shot a 70 and finished tied with Fred Gibson and Dave Stockton at 136.
IRISH OPEN: At Dublin, Ireland, former Ryder Cup player Barry Lane of England equalled the course record 62 - the lowest round of his European Tour career - to take a share of the lead in the Irish Open.
The 38-year-old Englishman, who has missed the cut 13 times in 14 tournaments, shares the lead with David Carter in the $1.66 million event at Druids Glen.