LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Scott Stallings regained sole possession of the lead when he two-putted from the fringe for birdie at the par-5 11th hole.
The birdie was Stallings' second straight and moved him to 26 under. Brian Gay, who is playing three groups ahead of Stallings, has made nine birdies in his first 15 holes and trails by one.
Rookie David Lingmerth, who tied for 31st last week in his PGA TOUR debut, is also 9 under for the day with two holes remaining. He's 24 under while his playing partner Nicolas Thompson and Charles Howell III are tied, another stroke in arrears.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Don't look now but Brian Gay has joined Scott Stallings at the top of the leaderboard at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
Gay rolled in a 3-footer for birdie at the par-5 11th hole to move to 24 under. The birdie was his fifth in the last six holes and eighth of the day.
Stallings, on the other hand, has just made the turn at 2 under.
Kevin Chappell's bid for a 59 ended after he was unable to hole his shot from the fairway at the ninth hole. He ended up three-putting from 39 feet for bogey and tossed the ball into the lake.
Even so, the round of 62 eclipsed Chappell's previous career-best on TOUR by three strokes.
Rookie David Lingmerth and Nicholas Thompson, who are playing together, are both 7 under through 12 holes and 22 under for the tournament. They are tied with Charles Howell III, who is 5 under through 11 holes.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Scott Stallings' bid to become the first player to play an entire tournament bogey-free since Lee Trevino in 1974 has ended.
Stallings three-putted the seventh hole from 16 feet, missing from 23 inches for par. The bogey brought Stallings back to 24 under and his lead is now two strokes.
Kevin Chappell and Brian Gay are Stallings' nearest challengers. Chappell is 10 under for the day with two holes remaining while Gay just made the turn in 30 .
James Hahn, who shared the lead after the first and second rounds is tied at 21 under with another rookie, David Lingmerth, and Charles Howell III.
Trevino did not make a bogey in winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 1974.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- The 59 watch is officially on.
Kevin Chappell is 9 under through 13 holes -- with one par 5, one par 3 and three par 4s remaining. The Californian has moved to 21 under along with David Lingmerth and Brian Gay, which puts the trio four strokes behind Scott Stallings.
A 59 would not be unprecedented at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. David Duval shot one in 1999 when he came from a record seven strokes off the pace to win.
Chappell started the day at 12 under, which was 10 strokes behind Stallings. Chappell's best finish on TOUR is a tie for second at the Valero Texas Open in 2011.
Chappell's lowest round on the PGA TOUR is the 65 he shot in the first round of the Humana Challenge a year ago.
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. -- The words were hardly what Stewart Cink wanted to hear.
He had asked the Mike Lipnick, who is the director of instruction at TPC Sugarloaf in Cink's hometown of Atlanta, to take a look at his swing. Cink wondered what was different from four or five years ago, when he made the 2009 British Open his sixth PGA TOUR victory, to that autumn day in 2012 where he was mired in triple digits in the world rankings.
"We worked for about 30 minutes and he looked at me and said, 'To be honest with you, I don't see a lot of strengths here,'" Cink recalled. "So that was kind of a little bit of a wake-up call for me because I still felt like I had some strengths, at least.
"But he said, 'I don't really see it. You're not really doing a whole lot of good stuff right now. You're not helping yourself out.'"
Cink wasn't prepared for such a blunt assessment. He appreciated Lipnick's honesty, though, and he liked the fact that the club pro didn't sugar-coat his words just because Cink, who was once a mainstay of the U.S. Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams, had been playing with the game's best for nearly two decades.
So the two decided to go back to basics. The main area of emphasis was to shore up Cink's set-up so he's rotating rather than swinging laterally. That way "I'm unlocking my potential to swing the club the right way ... and not by trying to make some motion with my upper body or arms or anything," Cink said.
Cink started playing better during the offseason and he was encouraged. But he missed the cut in Hawaii last week so Cink didn't know quite what to expect when he teed it up at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
So far, so very good. Cink will start Sunday's final round in a five-way tie for second. Granted, he's five strokes behind Scott Stallings but Cink knows progress is being made. He's staying in the moment and starting to trust himself again.
"It's a process that I'm still in sort of the very beginning stages of," Cink said. "But out here, I think that you're playing, even though one round and one shot are sometimes very important, you're still trying to play the percentages, where out of a thousand shots, you want the highest number of those to be good. And that's what I'm after.
"I'm after that overriding quality, not necessarily go out there tomorrow and shoot a 26 from the first tee box. So this is just part of the steps that I need to take to get comfortable being in contention and trusting myself and trusting my swing and what I'm doing with Mike."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Charley Hoffman isn't worried about being late.
He and his wife Stacy are hosting a two-day charity event in San Diego to raise money for the Charley Hoffman Foundation. The festivities begin Sunday night with a dinner at 6 p.m. and continue on Monday with a pro-am on the North Course at Torrey Pines.
But Hoffman will start the final round of the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation tied for second, five strokes behind Scott Stallings. Hoffman is a former winner of this event, beating John Rollins in a playoff in his 2007 debut in the desert.
"The worst case scenario is that I show up a few minutes late but the party will go on without me," Hoffman said mindful of the three-hour gap between the end of the tournament and start of the dinner. "We will raise money even if I get there a litle bit late. Hopefully, we'll have something to celebrate."
A Hoffman win would likely delay his arrival more than a few minutes, of course. But regardless of what happens at the Palmer Private course on Sunday, he and Stacy can be proud of the work the Foundation does as it goes over the $1 million mark this week. Proceeds of the two-day event benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Pro Kids and the San Diego Junior Golf Association.
Hoffman said his main duty Saturday night is to send out a text to his fellow TOUR pros and tell them what time to show up on Monday. He and his wife have hired someone to help with the administration of this event, and Hoffman, who has missed the cut the last three years in the desert, thinks that may have contributed to his improved performance this week.
"It was nice hiring somebody so I can go out and focus on golf," Hoffman said. "But it definitely means a lot to my wife and myself to put on a nice event and raise money for our charities in San Diego."
Hoffman, who is making his 2013 debut at the Humana Challenge, opened with a 65 on Thursday and has followed that up with a pair of 67s. He's tied for fifth in putting this week, and he's hit 29 of 41 fairways and 39 of 54 greens in regulation.
"If I get the putter going, I'm usually always sort of up there near the top of the leaderboard,' Hoffman said. "And it's been going pretty good this week, and hopefully got one more day and keep it going. "
Hoffman is a gregarious sort, too, and he enjoys the format that has the pros play with an amateur each of the first three days. "It's actually pretty fun to interact with those guys," he said. "So some guys I don't know if it throws them off or something, but I enjoy playing in the pro-am format.
"I succeeded in the past and hopefully I'll have a chance tomorrow."
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.