There’s finally some separation at the top of the leaderboard, but there are also any number of players who can still win.
Brendan Steele and Kevin Chappell share the lead at 8 under and both are seeking their first win on the PGA TOUR. Will they hold up over the last six holes? So far they’ve acquitted themselves well with neither player making a bogey today.
Four other players, meanwhile, are within three strokes. Among them are Charley Hoffman and Pat Perez.
Can anyone catch Brendan Steele? He still leads by one but has plenty of company. Here’s a closer look at some of his contenders:
As a rookie in 2010, Tringale only made five of 22 cuts on TOUR. So far this season, he has made eight of 11 cuts.
Tringale was tied for the first-round lead at the 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open -- his only lead on TOUR after any round.
Tringale made the clinching putt to help the U.S. win the 2009 Walker Cup.
Chappell is playing in his 16 th event on TOUR, making the cut in seven of those starts.
Chappell won the 2008 NCAA Championship, leading his UCLA Bruins to the team title along the way. Chappell was the only player in the field to shoot under-par (2 under).
Coming into this week, Snedeker had only made four of nine cuts, but he has finished inside the top 25 each of the four and in the top 10 three times.
This is also Snedeker’s first career start at the Valero Texas Open.
The top three names on the leaderboard entering today’s final round have all of 62 combined starts on the PGA TOUR.
Charles Howell III and Pat Perez, both of whom are tied for fifth, have 83 combined top-10s.
In other words, it’s youth vs. experience at TPC San Antonio, where Brendan Steele leads at 7 under and Cameron Tringale and Kevin Chappell are one and two shots back, respectively.
The good news for that trio is that players in their 20s have won three of the last four events and four of the last six. The last player in his 30s to win? Rory Sabbatini at The Honda Classic.
Tringale (23) and Chappell (24) would be the youngest players to win on TOUR since Jason Day (22) won the HP Byron Nelson Championship last May.
And if rookies Chappell or Steele go on to victory it would mark the first time rookies have won back-to-back events on TOUR since 2002 when Jonathan Byrd won the Buick Challenge and Luke Donald won the Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
Brandt Snedeker, Pat Perez, Charles Howell III, Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman and Rich Beem have all won on the PGA TOUR. Brendan Steele, Cameron Tringale and Kevin Chappell haven’t.
That’s the separation at the top of the leaderboard at TPC San Antonio, where Steele is in front by one at 7 under after a 68 Saturday.
The biggest difference between the second and third rounds was the wind. Friday it blew, Saturday, for the most part, it didn’t. That allowed for some good scoring, though it’s still somewhat crowded with eight players within four shots of Steele’s lead.
That of course includes the defending champion Scott, who is on a run of three straight finishes in the top 6, which includes of course his tie for second at the Masters last week.
So what will happen on Sunday?
The wind is expected to blow in the 25-mph range. That could mean more high scores -- and an advantage to Scott, an Aussie who of course is used to playing in the wind. Stay tuned.
The leaderboard remains crowded at TPC San Antonio, where three players now share the lead at 4 under.
One of the three, Kevin Chappell, has a pretty good pedigree that he’s trying to live up to. At UCLA, Chappell led the Bruins to the 2008 NCAA title. He also won the individual title and received the 2008 Jack Nicklaus Award as the top male collegiate player -- the first UCLA player to do so since Duffy Waldorf in 1985.
Last year on the Nationwide Tour, Chappell had 24 starts and recorded seven top-10s, which included a win a second and a third as he ended the year ninth on the money list to earn his PGA TOUR card for this year.
His rookie year on TOUR hasn’t gone as well, however. Chappell has missed his last three cuts and his best finish was a tie for 42nd in Hawaii.
Obviously that could change this week. One big reason it could: Chappell’s putting. He leads the field in putting so far.