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    • The Upshot: Humana, Rd. 3

    •  Patrick Reed shot a third consecutive 63 on Saturday. (Dunn/Getty Images) Patrick Reed shot a third consecutive 63 on Saturday. (Dunn/Getty Images)

    LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Patrick Reed shot a third consecutive 63 on Saturday, this time at PGA West's Nicklaus Private Course to take a seven-shot lead with one round remaining at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. His 27-under 189 total set a PGA TOUR record for lowest 54-hole score in relation to par.

    "It kind of seemed like deja vu all over again," Reed said. "When I played today, I felt just as confident as I did the last two days and the putter is still working."

    Reed has a seven-shot lead over Brendon Todd and former Humana champion Charley Hoffman. Reed had eight birdies, one eagle and one bogey Saturday. He’s made 25 birdies, two eagles and two bogeys this week.

    Reed’s 189 came within one shot of the lowest 54-hole score in PGA TOUR history. Steve Stricker shot 25-under 188 (60-66-62) at the 2010 John Deere Classic. Stricker also set the TOUR record for lowest 54-hole score in relation to par that week.

    Reed is the first player in TOUR history to shoot 63 or better in each of his opening three rounds.

    This is Reed’s second Humana Challenge appearance. He missed the cut in 2013, but is 21 shots better through 54 holes this time. Reed also played PGA West in the final stage of Q-School in December 2012, earning his PGA TOUR card without a shot to spare. “That was probably the most nervous 3-footer I ever had in my life on the last hole for par,” he said.

    Reed hasn’t many par putts on this trip to California, making birdie or eagle on half his holes thus far this week.

    He birdied his first hole of the day, the 10th on PGA West's Nicklaus Private Course, then birdied Nos. 13 and 14 and eagled the par-5 16th after hitting 5-iron to 4 feet from 212 yards. He birdied Nos. 1 and 4 to reach 7-under for the day, but bogeyed the par-4 fifth hole. He birdied three of his final four holes, capping off the round by hitting his 131-yard approach at No. 9 to 4 feet and making the bogey putt.

    Reed, who won last year's Wyndham Championship, is trying to join Rory McIlroy and Harris English as the only players currently younger than 25 with multiple TOUR wins. A good week also would qualify Reed for his first World Golf Championship. He is No. 69 in the Official World Golf Ranking. The top 64 available players in the Official World Golf Ranking on Feb. 10 qualify for the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.

    "I'm just going to treat tomorrow as if it's a Monday qualifier, 18-hole shootout, everybody's tied at even par and hopefully I can go out and do the same thing I've done in the past three days," Reed said.

    CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN: It will be difficult to catch Reed on Sunday, but can it be done? The history books would say no. No one in TOUR history has ever lost a seven-shot lead with 18 holes remaining.

    The largest come-from-behind victory entering the final round of the Humana Challenge is seven shots by David Duval in 1999, when he shot a final-round 59 to go from a share of 13th to the winner's circle. Scott Stallings held a five-shot lead through three rounds of last year’s Humana, but missed a playoff by one shot after shooting a final-round 70.

    “Obviously you can make a ton of birdies out here, but I’ve said from day one, there’s plenty of trouble on this golf course, there’s plenty of water to hit it in coming down the stretch,” Hoffman said. “But all the holes are birdie holes at the same time. So if your nerves show up you have a chance to make some bogeys. … If you hit it in the fairway you have wedges into every one of those holes and you can make a lot of birdies.”

    Hoffman closed Saturday’s round by making eagle at the 18th hole at PGA West’s Palmer Private Course. He hit 6-iron from 194 yards to 3 feet and made the putt.

    “I approached that hole as the start of tomorrow and starting to try to chase him down, so that was a good start,” Hoffman said.

    Todd, who is tied with Hoffman for second place, is making the 66th start of his PGA TOUR career, and seeking his second top-10. His only previous top-10 was a T-9 at the 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

    Todd is 27th in the FedExCup after making the cut in all five of his previous starts this season and finishing in the top 30 four times.

    BLAST FROM THE PAST: Three former Humana champions are in the top six. Hoffman, the 2007 winner, is T2. Bill Haas, the 2010 champion, and 2005 winner Justin Leonard are both tied for fifth, nine shots behind Reed.

    Haas won in 2010 and was runner-up the following year, but has finished outside the top 60 in his past two appearances here. Leonard has just one top-10 here in eight appearances since his win.

    TALE OF TWO NINES: Ryan Palmer’s front-nine struggles continue this week. He’s even par on his three front nines after shooting 35-35-38. He’s 17 under on his second nines, though, shooting 29-30-32. Palmer, who has two top-six finishes in his past three Humana starts, is T-7 through 54 holes at 17-under. He shot 70 on Saturday at the Nicklaus Private Course, the easiest of the three courses used this week.

    “Today was absolutely disgusting,” he said.

    STRONG START: Brian Stuard’s strong start to the 2013-14 season is continuing this week. He is tied for seventh at 17-under 199. He arrived at the Humana Challenge ranked eighth in the FedExCup after finishing second at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba and sixth at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He’s seeking his third consecutive top-10.

     

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