MADISON, Miss. (AP) — Bill Haas shot a 3-under 69 to take a four-stroke lead at the Viking Classic on Saturday, overcoming three bogeys and a double bogey after playing error free the first two rounds.
“Pretty erratic, I’d say,” Haas said.
Haas, who had a share of the lead in the first two rounds, was at 15-under 201. He is going for his second PGA Tour title after winning the Bob Hope Classic earlier this year.
“I made eight birdies today,” Haas said. “I definitely could have distanced myself from the field, but I’ve never really had a lead like this going into Sunday. So I’m looking forward to that challenge and playing solid tomorrow.”
Michael Allen, winless in 357 tournaments, and Nathan Green shot 70 and were tied for second at 205 with Brendon de Jonge, who had a 73. Jason Bohn was alone in fifth after a 67 left him at 206.
The 51-year-old Allen was paired with Haas for the final round.
“Well, I’d sure like to be two or three, you know,” Allen said of his deficit. “That would be better, but it’s not bad. Anything can happen out here. Make two or three birdies early, kind of get things going, maybe I can put some pressure on him and have a chance to get back in there.”
Haas birdied No. 18, which he hopes will give him some momentum going into Sunday. And he liked the way he shook off trouble throughout the day Saturday.
“To come in with the lead, tied for the lead, and make eight birdies, I did a lot of good things,” Haas said. “I’ve just got to eliminate the bad things. Easy to say, hard to do, but I think I can hopefully get off to a decent start tomorrow and hopefully come through.”
De Jonge had shared the lead over the first two rounds, but ran into trouble early in the third with a bogey on the first hole, and had four more the rest of the way. He stayed in contention by finishing up with an eagle on the par-5 18th.
“Yeah, it was nice,” said de Jonge, who is also looking for his first win. “It was a tough start to the day, and it feels good to have a safe finish with a 3.”
Bohn was one of the few players with an error-free round, but was not happy to trail by five strokes.
“I played very solid, and I didn’t really capitalize coming in,” he said. “Like I had some good looks actually on the back nine and didn’t make many. So a little disappointing on that, but all in all, I mean, any time you play bogey free, you’ve done well.”
The field was cut to 79 players on Friday, at even-par. On Saturday it was cut again, also at par, leaving 70 players going into Sunday’s final round.