Hal Sutton wasn't too excited over his one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Texas Open.
"We've got a pause in play, and I've temporarily got the lead," Sutton said. "With everybody being close to the lead, it's going to take a good low score out of me."Sutton birdied the final hole Saturday with a 10-foot putt to cap a 5-under-par 67 and take his narrow lead over three golfers heading into the final round at the LaCantera Golf Club.
Justin Leonard, a co-leader with John Maginnes entering the third round, was tied at 13-under 203 with Scott Gump and former Texas Open champion Jay Haas.
Leonard recovered from a bogey on No. 12 to shoot a 69, while Haas shot a season-low 64 and Gump had a 65. Brad Fabel, who had a 70, and Mike Small, 68, were two strokes behind Sutton.
The winner of the $1.7 million tournament, sponsored by Westin, receives $306,000. Sutton, who last won the PGA Tour at the 1995 B.C. Open, was very aware of 12 players being with four strokes of the lead and in position to possibly collect the top prize.
"These guys know what they're doing," he said. "A lot of guys in this field are hungry for a win besides Hal Sutton."
Sutton, who began the day nine under, birdied Nos. 5, 7 and 9. His next birdie came on the par-5 14th, where he two-putted from about 20 feet.
He bogeyed the 15th when he misread the green as his putt from about 15 feet rolled 10 feet past the hole. But Sutton regained his momentum on the par-4 16th by making a 25-footer and sealed his lead on the par-4 18th with the 10-footer.
"The last three putts I made were real big putts," he said.
Leonard, currently No. 8 on the money list with $1,278,963 and the highest-ranking player in the Texas Open, made only one birdie on the front nine, the par-5 5th.
He birdied No. 10, then got briefly discouraged after the bogey 5 on the 12th.
"I tried to stay patient," Leonard said. "I finished pretty well."
Leonard birdied 14 and 15 with putts of 3 and 10 feet, respectively, and managed to par the final two holes despite being in the rough both times.
"I played OK," Leonard said. "I didn't play quite as good as I have the last couple of days. I missed a few fairways, a couple of greens. But I made some really good chip shots."
Maginnes, paired with Leonard, shot a 73 and was four strokes off the lead. He usually plays on the Nike Tour and is entered in the Texas Open with a sponsor's exemption.
The players again battled hot, muggy conditions with afternoon temperatures reaching the mid-90s.
BOONE VALLEY SENIOR CLASSIC: At Augusta, Mo., Graham Marsh birdied three of the last six holes in a 5-under-par 67 Saturday and took a one-shot lead over Larry Nelson after two rounds of the Boone Valley Senior Classic.
Walter Hall and Ed Dougherty each had a 66 Saturday and were two shots behind Marsh's 10-under 134 total.
Nelson had eight birdies in his 65 and the threesome of Nelson, Hall and Dougherty, who all had opening 70s, were a combined 19 under par.
BETSY KING CLASSIC: At Kutztown, Pa., Rachel Hetherington, who was atop a leaderboard for the first time in her LPGA career after the second round, had a 2-under-par 70 Saturday to maintain her one-stroke lead another round of the First Union Betsy King Classic.