PHOENIX: Bubba Watson, seeking his first win since his 2012 Masters Triumph, fired a three-under 68 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to take sole possession of the Phoenix Open lead.
Watson had shared the lead after each of the first two rounds of the $6.2 million US PGA Tour event. He finished 54 holes with a two-stroke cushion atop the leaderboard with a 15-under total of 198.
“I’ve got one more tough day, but what I’m seeing is building for the future,” Watson said after a round that included four birdies and just one bogey. “It’s coming together pretty good. I know that I can make some creative shots under pressure.”
Watson was two strokes in front of Kevin Stadler, who fired a third-round 67 for 200.
Ryan Moore jumped into a share of third place on 201 with a seven-under 64. He was joined by Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who posted a 68, and Harris English who carded a 69.
Brendan Steele notched the low round of the tournament with a nine-under 62 on the TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course, moving into a tie for sixth on 202. He was level with overnight co-leader Matt Jones of Australia, who settled for a one-over-par 72, and Hunter Mahan (65).
English had joined Watson and Jones atop the leaderboard early in the round when he drained a 15-foot eagle putt at the third.
After Jones and Watson both birdied the third to move to 13-under, Jones three-putted for bogey at the fourth to hand the outright lead to Watson.
Watson rolled in a seven-footer for birdie at the sixth and picked up another shot at eight before he failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker at 10.
He added a last birdie at 17, where he sank an 11-footer.