Simpson stays four ahead in Vegas

Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:07pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson moved closer to a fourth victory on the PGA Tour as he maintained a commanding four-shot lead after Saturday's third round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.

Though not quite matching the high standard of play he produced over the first two days at the TPC Summerlin, the American finished strongly with four birdies in the last seven holes to card a four-under-par 67.

That left Simpson at 19-under 194 in the second event of the PGA Tour's 2013-14 season, with 26-year-old rookie Chesson Hadley alone in second place after eagling the par-five 16th on the way to a 67.

Former U.S. Ryder Cup player Jeff Overton (68) was a further stroke back at 14 under, one ahead of fellow American Jason Bohn (69).

Simpson, however, commanded the spotlight as he recovered from an early bogey to stay atop the leaderboard on another ideal day for low scoring in the high Nevada desert where there was barely a breath of wind.

"The greens were a little more firm, a little burned out and a little faster, and I think I was a little too tentative," Simpson told Golf Channel when asked to explain his slow start to the third round.

"The speed of my long putts kind of hurt us on the front (nine). I would run them four or five feet by, or leave them short. I couldn't really get a feel for it but finally on the back nine I got some birdies going."

Four ahead overnight, the 2012 U.S. Open champion briefly dropped back into a tie for the lead with Bohn at 14 under after running up a three-putt bogey at the par-four third.

However, he immediately recovered with birdies at the fourth and fifth to move two strokes clear, then parred the next four holes to reach the turn with a three-shot advantage at 16 under.   Continued...

 
U.S. team member Webb Simpson hits from a bunker on the 14th hole as he plays International player Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa during the Singles matches for the 2013 Presidents Cup golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio October 6, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes