Charley Hoffman birdied four of his first five holes and putted brilliantly to shoot a five-under 66 in Round 3 of the RBC Heritage. The two-time PGA Tour winner holds a two-stroke lead entering the final day over reigning U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.
A tie for third at the Valero Texas Open has generated some nice momentum for Hoffman, who opened this event at Hilton Head's Harbour Town Golf Links with just 22 putts in the opening round.
On Saturday, though, Hoffman bested that total, as the Tour's official Twitter page highlighted:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
How good was Charley Hoffman with the flatstick on Saturday? He needed just 21 putts to get around Harbour Town Golf Links.2013-4-20 21:27:01
Below is a look at the top contenders in South Carolina, and for complete scores, check out PGA.com.
|1||Charley Hoffman ||66-70-66||-11|
|2||Webb Simpson ||68-71-65||-9|
|3||Kevin Streelman ||66-70-69 ||-8|
|T4 ||Brendon de Jonge ||70-69-67||-7|
|T6 ||Steve LeBrun ||68-68-71||-6|
|T6||Bill Haas ||68-69-70||-6|
|T6||Ryo Ishikawa ||68-72-67 ||-6|
|T6||Camilo Villegas ||68-71-68||-6|
|T6||Tim Clark ||68-71-68||-6|
Hoffman hit just eight greens in regulation in the third round and found just half of the course's fairways, but his short game continually bailed him out.
Putting typically isn't Hoffman's strong suit, as he ranked 97th in strokes gained putting entering this tournament. Saturday saw Hoffman gain more than seven shots on the field in that statistic, and he's had 36 one-putts through the first 54 holes.
There are plenty of talented golfers hot on Hoffman's trail should his flatstick betray him on Sunday, though.
Other than two top-six finishes in February, 2013 hasn't been particularly kind to Simpson. But the young American star is flashing the form that led to his major breakthrough. He vaulted up the leaderboard more than anyone on moving day thanks to six birdies and zero bogeys en route to a 65.
Tampa Bay Championship winner Kevin Streelman shared the overnight lead with Hoffman and Steve LeBrun, and his round of 69 was keyed by back-to-back birdies at Nos. 13 and 14.
Another U.S. Open champion in Graeme McDowell is in contention as well. The Northern Irishman hit a sensational 4-iron approach to the difficult final hole, and birdied the par-four hole to get to seven under overall and in joint fourth with Brendon de Jonge.
Check out some of the best highlights, courtesy of PGATOUR.com.
Hoffman found himself out of position on the par-five 15th hole, but given his prowess on the greens, it didn't really matter. This phenomenal roll got him to 11 under, and preceded three clutch par saves down the stretch.
A wonderful second shot at the long par-four third hole gave Streelman his first of four birdies for the day, as he continues to look comfortable in contention since his maiden Tour victory in March.
After pouring it in from over 20 feet on the previous hole, McDowell found the bottom of the cup again from a similar distance at the par-four No. 6 for a second consecutive birdie.
Justin Hicks also has a share of sixth at six-under par, and his final birdie of the day was courtesy of this marvelous tee shot at the par-three 17th, which he nearly jarred for an ace.
Note: All statistics were obtained from PGATOUR.com unless otherwise noted.