Stricker still way out in front

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Steve Stricker still has a dominant lead heading into the final round of the Northern Trust Open near Los Angeles.

A bogey at the last hole of his delayed third round will not prevent Steve Stricker from taking a dominant lead into the final round at the Northern Trust Open near Los Angeles.
World number three Stricker resumed his third round at a rainy Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades with four holes to play and with a five-stroke lead over fellow American JB Holmes, Argentina’s Andres Romero and England’s Luke Donald.
He quickly added two more shots to that lead with birdies at the 15th and 16th but after 32 bogey-free holes at the par-71 Riviera course, a five at the par-four 18th left Stricker with a 66 at 15 under par, six shots clear with 18 holes to play.
Donald was leading the chase of runaway leader Stricker, the runner-up behind Phil Mickelson 12 months ago, having carded a 66 today before play was suspended for the second night in a row due to darkness.
The soggy conditions which had seen three inches of rainfall meant the Englishman had needed to play 22 holes on Saturday, completing a second-round, one-under 70 to get to four under and then turning right around to move to nine under after 18 bogey-free holes and a five-under third round.
Donald, bidding for a first victory since the 2006 Honda Classic, was happy with his day’s work when he spoke on Saturday night.
“Obviously it’s been a long day, I was up at 5am this morning and I thought it was going to be another really long day, but the weather turned out pretty good and we had some favourable conditions and were able to get it in,” Donald said.
“It was a solid day today. I felt like I had a lot more control tee to green today and was very tidy when I missed greens. So all in all, it was a very neat and tidy round.”
Following Donald, Romero and Holmes in a tie for fifth on eight under were Americans George McNeill, Kevin Stadler and Dustin Johnson, the 36-hole leader, who struggled to a three-over 74 in his delayed third round.
US Ryder Cup star Anthony Kim had been going well at nine under until back-to-back bogeys at the 15th and 16th left him at seven under following a 69.
Englishman Justin Rose had got into contention with a second-round 67 that got him to six under but the Ryder Cup man was unable to make further progress and posted a two-over 73 for his third round, four under for the week.
Mickelson, bidding for a third title in a row at Riviera, was another unable to keep pace with the leaders as he carded a level-par 71 to hold steady at four under for the tournament, with England’s Brian Davis on three under having completed a third-round, three-under 68.
Scotland’s Martin Laird had resumed his second round in the morning with a late birdie taking him to two over to hold on for a second 72 in succession and make the cut on the mark. The Glaswegian’s third round saw him open with a double-bogey at the par-three 10th before recovering to a two-under 69 to get to level par, in part thanks to an eagle three at the first hole, his 10th.

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