PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - South African veteran Retief Goosen survived a trying time on the back nine in tough scoring conditions at the Northern Trust Open to stretch his lead to two shots after the third round on Saturday.
A stroke in front overnight, Goosen ground out a two-under-par 69 on a firm and fast-running Riviera Country Club where the players faced a testing challenge reminiscent of a major championship.
The 46-year-old South African, a twice former U.S. Open winner, rebounded from four bogeys in six holes after the turn with two late birdies to post an eight-under total of 205.
Canadian Graham DeLaet, seeking his first PGA Tour victory, was alone in second after carding a 70 while Spanish world number seven Sergio Garcia was among a group of four players knotted at five under after shooting a 68.
Level with Garcia were South Korean Bae Sang-moon (66), PGA Tour rookie Carlos Ortiz of Mexico (68) and long-hitting American J.B. Holmes (69) on a multinational leaderboard stacked with quality players.
Masters champion Bubba Watson, who won last year's Northern Trust Open, was just four strokes off the pace after returning a 70, level with rising young American talent Jordan Spieth (70) and former major winners Vijay Singh (69) and Jim Furyk (68).
Editing by Larry Fine