Billy Horschel fired a two-under on Saturday at the Valero Texas Open. That got him to 10 under overall through three rounds, and he now holds a two-stroke advantage over Charley Hoffman and Jim Furyk.
The fiery 26-year-old now holds his first 54-hole lead after a hard-fought day at TPC San Antonio. A difficult course was made more difficult by blustery conditions, which yielded no score lower than a 68.
Horschel isn't shy to show his emotions on the course, and after a relatively stable start, he logged a horrid three-putt on the par-five eighth hole. He fired his ball off the green in frustration after the unfortunate mistake but bounced back admirably.
A wonderful approach to No. 9 set up a tap-in birdie on the par four, and Horschel backed it up with another birdie at the next hole.
The aforementioned hiccup with the flatstick was a rarity on Saturday for Horschel, who had just 23 putts and leads the field this week in strokes gained putting.
That helped immensely on an afternoon in which Horschel hit just eight out of 18 greens.
PGATOUR.com's Amanda Balionis highlighted the massive ramifications for a potential Horschel victory:
Amanda Balionis @Amanda_Balionis
Horschel, our 36 hole leader, now takes that lead into Sunday looking for his 1st win and last ticket to @The_Masters #multitasking2013-4-6 21:45:57
Hoffman is a two-time winner on Tour and was a runner-up at this event in 2011. Birdies on the second and third holes got him off to a strong start, but he couldn't improve his score anymore, settling for a stellar 70.
Two birdies to start the day put the veteran Furyk in a relaxed mode. His ball-striking was impeccable as he hit over 78 percent of fairways and 83 percent of greens in regulation en route to a 69.
Not to be counted out is Rory McIlroy, even though 2013 has been a struggle for the prodigious two-time major champion. The Northern Irishman did blow birdie opportunities on the final two holes and three-putted two consecutive holes in the middle of his round.
However, McIlroy is still very much in the mix after a one-under 71, sitting at six under for the tournament as he continues to find his fantastic form ahead of The Masters.
Below are some of the best highlights from Day 3, courtesy of PGATOUR.com.
Check out this recovery shot from Horschel at No. 14.
The primary rough isn't too penal at this venue, but he found himself a little too far offline. That didn't matter, as Horschel stuck this 100-yard approach to five feet and made his final birdie of the day on the par-five.
McIlroy's towering tee shot to the par-three third hole was nearly within gimme range. That sparkling six-iron was his second birdie in three holes, but he did play one-over the rest of the way.
A brilliant chip at the long par-four 15th gave Padraig Harrington a big birdie boost near the conclusion of his round. He bogeyed the last to post a 70 but is just five shots off the pace set by Horschel.
Here is a look at the top contenders heading into Sunday in San Antonio. For complete scores, head over to PGA.com.
|1||Billy Horschel ||68-68-70||-10|
|T2||Jim Furyk ||69-70-69||-8|
|T2||Charley Hoffman ||71-67-70||-8|
|T4||Rory McIlroy ||72-67-71||-6|
|T4||Ryan Palmer ||71-71-68 ||-6|
|T4||Bob Estes ||72-69-69||-6|
|T7||Padraig Harrington ||68-73-70||-5|
|T7||Martin Laird ||70-71-70||-5|
|T7||K.J. Choi ||72-67-72||-5|
|T7||Jeff Overton ||69-72-70||-5|