LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Yes, Scott Stallings has the upper hand. But make no mistake, there are birdies to be had at the Palmer Private Course on Sunday.
You have to look no farther than Kevin Chappell, who started on the back nine. He has surged into a tie for second at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation after playing his first 12 holes in 8 under.
Chappell, who is from Fresno, made six birdies on the back nine and added another pair on Nos. 1 and 2. He's 20 under and tied with David Lingmerth, who is 5 under through seven holes on the front, and Brian Gay, who is 4 under through six.
Stallings, though, has made three straight birdies starting at the second hole. So his lead remains five strokes.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- The Coachella Valley is bathed in sunshine Sunday morning as the leaders of the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation get set for the final round on the Palmer Private Course.
Scott Stallings owns a five-stroke advantage over Roberto Castro, Stewart Cink, Charles Howell III, John Rollins and Charley Hoffman. Stallings, who did not make a bogey in his first 54 holes, is looking for his third PGA TOUR win in 58 starts.
Four of the five players tied for second are trying to end lengthy victory droughts while Castro is seeking his first win. Howell's last victory came in 2007, Cink and Rollins last won in 2009 and Hoffman is seeking his first since the 2010 FedExCup Playoffs.
The deficit is admittedly daunting. But over the first three rounds, the Palmer Course averaged nearly two-and-a-half strokes under par and the course gave up a 59 to David Duval when he won the tournament in 1999. Stallings and Cink both shot 66s the first time they played the Palmer this week while Howell and Castro had 67s and Rollins shot 70.
Cink, who lives in Atlanta, used today's NFL playoff game between the Falcons and San Francisco 49ers to size up Sunday's competition.
"The Falcons are about a four-and-a-half point underdog, and does that translate into a five-shot deficit?" he said. "I'm probably a 14-point underdog tomorrow with a five-shot deficit. So I think I have a bigger challenge than they do.
"They have Matt Ryan. I don't have another person to be my quarterback tomorrow. I have to be my own quarterback and receiver."
Should the 27-year-old Stallings go on to win, he would become the third player in his 20s to win in the first three TOUR events of 2013. The last time that happened was in 1977 (Jerry Pate/Phoenix Open, Bruce Lietzke/Tucson Open and Tom Watson/Bing Crosby National Pro-Am). Tom Watson also won the fourth week on TOUR in 1977 at the Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational.
Stallings would also become the sixth player under the age of 30 with three of more TOUR wins, joining Dustin Johnson (7), Rory McIlroy (6), Anthony Kim (3), Webb Simpson (3) and Keegan Bradley (3). He'd also get a second straight trip to the Masters.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Scott Stallings threatened to run away with the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation on Saturday.
Stallings, who has yet to drop a shot to par in 54 holes this week, made two eagles and five birdies on the way to a 63 on the Nicklaus Course that enabled him to open up a five-shot lead. Stallings will start the final 18 holes on the Palmer Course at 22 under as he seeks his third PGA TOUR win in as many years.
"I've been aggressive," Stallings said. "I've been smart when I got out of position. Just because I played really good, doesn't mean that I've hit it perfect on every single hole. I scrambled a little bit, but when I got out of position off the tee, I played smart. I hit it in the middle of the green and just kind of accepted par and moved on and was really aggressive when I had the opportunity.
"The same thing goes tomorrow. Obviously, a lot can happen coming down the back nine, especially with all the birdie holes coming in, but it is what it is, and go out there and try to be aggressive early and go from there."
His nearest competitors include Roberto Castro, who held a share of the first- and second-round leads; former British Open champion Stewart Cink, Charles Howell III, John Rollins and Charley Hoffman. Rollins had the lowest round of the group at 17 under with a 64 at the Nicklaus Course.
Obviously, the five-stroke advantage will be difficult to overcome on PGA West's Palmer Private Course. Not that it can't be done, though.
"It's probably harder on the PGA, on this in this format, just because you just don't have quite the opportunity for the leader to come back to you," Cink said. "You're going to have to take over the lead. And a poor round tomorrow, assuming the weather is like this, is still going to be like around 1 or 2 under par. And that's a poor round.
"So you're going to have to go out there and really be aggressive and play well and really make some putts and stay aggressive."
Brian Stuard, who had visions of a 59 when he moved to 11 under through 16 holes at the Nicklaus Course, heads a group of seven players at 16 hunder. Stuard, who bogeyed the 18th and shot 62, is among nine players tied at 16 under.
"I kind of thought (about 59) after I hit my tee shot on 17," admitted Stuard, who was outside the cut line at the start of the day. "I had a chance there and just kind of left it on the top edge, but, no, after that, not really."
Also at 16 under is Sang-moon Bae, who shot 8 under at the Nicklaus; Kevin Streelman, Kevin Stadler, Brian Gay, Ryan Palmer, Billy Horschel and Lee Williams.
Phil Mickelson played his way to Sunday with a round of 66 on the Palmer Course that included birdies on the 16th and 17th holes and a water-logged par at the 18th. He finished at 11 under, which is two shots clear of the cut, which came at 10 under.
Among the players who won't play Sunday are former major champions Trevor Immelman, Davis Love III, Webb Simpson and Mike Weir. A total of 81 players made the cut.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Scott Stallings has rolled in three straight birdies to replace Roberto Castro at the top of the leaderboard at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foiundation.
Meanwhile. Brian Stuard, playing on the opposite nine at the Nicklaus course, is making a bid for the magical 59. He just eagled the 16th hole and is 11 under for the day with a par 3 and par 4 remaining. He's currently tied for second with Castro and Greg Chalmers at 17 under.
Stuard has made eight birdies, two eagles and one bogey.
Stallings, who has played 14 holes on the Nicklaus, is 7 under for the day and 20 under for the tournament. Stalllings, who is bidding for his third TOUR win in as many years, has yet to make a bogey this week.
Castro just finished off a 69 at La Quinta, while Chalmers is through 13 on the same course.
Second-year TOUR pro Sang-moon Bae, Kevin Streelman, Stewart Cink, Ricky Barnes and John Rollins are tied at 16 under. Streelman just completed a round of 66 at La Quinta while Bae shot 64 at at the Nicklaus Course and Rollins is 7 under through 15 holes there.
The cut line just went to 10 under after Phil Mickelson made a two-putt birdie at the 11th hole to get to 9 under. There are 73 players currently inside the cut line.
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Two years on the PGA TOUR and two wins -- not too shabby for Scott Stallings, who missed a month last season with a rib injury. Healthy in 2013 -- can the perpetually-smiling Tennessee Tech grad keep up the pace?
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: All three of Stallings' top-10 finishes came in his final nine starts of 2012 as that victory at the True South Classic seemed to turn the season around. His four-day today of 24 under that included consecutive 64s was a tournament record and gave him his second straight shot at the FedExCup Playoffs, moving him from No. 163 to 95th. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Scott is 27 years old and has already won a pair of PGA TOUR events, including this year's True South Classic. He is a long hitter who can be inconsistent on the greens but seems to find a way to score. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Salvaged what was shaping up as an injury-induced sophomore slump (ribs) with a victory at the True South Classic. It was the first of six top 25s in nine starts to close out his season. It would be unfair to circle negative splits due to him grinding through his malady for half a year, but he obliterates par 5s and has ranked inside the top third on TOUR in greens in regulation since joining the circuit in 2011. Even though he's already a two-time winner, there are gamers that will undervalue his weapons. Don't be one of them. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||1st||True South Classic|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 12
Rounds played: 78
Top-10 finishes: 3
Money List rank: 66th
Driving distance: 17th
Driving accuracy: 140th
Greens in regulation: 59th
Strokes gained-putting: 171st
Scoring average: 151st
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN What is your prediction for Scott Stallings in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- When Scott Stallings reached his final hole in Saturday's second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, he looked at his ball 41 feet, 4 inches away from the pin for birdie, then checked the scoreboard for the projected cutline.
It was 2 over. Stallings was at 2 over.
Ranked 61st in FedExCup points coming into the tournament, Stallings figured his chances of advancing in the Playoffs would die if he didn't make the extended weekend at TPC Boston.
So he rolled in the birdie putt to finish at 1 over and seal his spot inside the cutline – which, as it turned out, stayed at 2 over -- and keep his postseason hopes alive.
"That 40-footer was a lot bigger than just playing the weekend," he said.
Stallings, who started his round off the 10th tee, put himself in a tough spot when he bogeyed the eighth hole (his 17th of the day). His approach was headed at the flag but the wind kicked up and knocked it sideways, and he couldn't get up and down from the primary rough.
"That was kind of my day all day," Stallings said. "I hit some good shots that ended up in some really crappy places. Kind of a strange day, to say the least."
But it worked out for him. Now he has a chance to play his way into next week's BMW Championship. He's still projected outside the top 70 who'll advance -- he's at 72 now -- but he's looking forward to the challenge.
"I'm in a situation where I can go out and be aggressive," said Stallings, who was born in nearby Worcester, Mass. "I go out early tomorrow and hopefully get a chance to move up the board."
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- Scott Stallings, born in the Boston suburb of Worchester, is a huge Red Sox fan. A year ago at the Deutsche Bank Championship, he put a foul ball that he caught off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury in his bag.
"Hopefully that'll bring me a little bit more luck than the Jacoby one did last year," said Stallings, who finished tied for 52nd in his first Deutsche Bank appearance last year.
His good-luck loyalty in terms of the Red Sox goes only so far, however.
Stallings started the year with a Red Sox pin attached to his bag, but with the club struggling this season, Stallings got rid of the pin just after the All-Star break.
He's now searching for a Patriots pin for his bag.
CADDIE RETURNS: Speaking of Stallings' bag, his full-time caddie Josh Graham is back at work this week after taking the last two weeks off for the birth of his son, Caden.
Stallings used veteran Frank Williams, Stewart Cink's caddie, for those two weeks.
"He's been out here about as long as I've been alive," Stallings said of Williams. "It's weird -- he's six years older than my dad. It was really cool to have a guy just with all the people he's caddied for and the experiences that he's had and to try to help me out for a couple weeks."
Got a question for Scott Stallings? Send us your questions for Direct Connect — PGATOUR.COM’s video franchise that gets you closer to a PGA TOUR pro each week — and host John Swantek might use it when he chats with Stallings, who sits 61st in the FedExCup standings.
Stallings, a Massachusetts native, is making his second start at TPC Boston. He qualified for the 2011 Deutsche Bank Championship as a rookie.
If you want to ask Stallings a question, now is your opportunity. Just fill out the form below.
Also, we are now taking video submissions of questions. If you would like to send a video of you asking your question, please email the video to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep video to 20 seconds or less, shoot landscape style, and include your name and where you’re from in the text of your email.
Direct Connect video is posted each Wednesday afternoon on PGATOUR.COM, so please check back then for the Stallings interview.