HOUSTON: Matt Kuchar fired a four-under par 68 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to take a four-shot lead into the final round of the US PGA Tour Houston Open, last warm-up for the Masters.
Kuchar’s effort included six birdies and two bogeys, and gave him a 15-under total of 201.
He was four strokes in front of overnight leader Sergio Garcia, who settled for a one-over 73 and was joined on 205 by Cameron Tringale, who posted a 69.
Australia’s Matt Johnson was alone in fourth after a 71 for 207.
“It’s a nice position to have played well last week, to have been in the last group with a chance to win and again to come back this week, completely different course and have another shot to win,” said Kuchar, who carded a final-round 75 at the Texas Open last week and finished equal fourth.
With the Masters, the first major championship of the year, due to start on Thursday at Augusta, Georgia, getting the $6.2 million completed on time takes on added importance.
Garcia started the day with a one-stroke lead over Kuchar, but that evaporated at the first hole where the Spaniard made bogey from a greenside bunker and Kuchar rolled in a six-foot birdie to go top.
Garcia pulled level with a birdie at the third, but Kuchar birdied the par-five fourth to reclaim the lead.
Kuchar added a 10-foot birdie at the fifth before a bogey at the ninth saw him make the turn one shot ahead of Garcia.