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HUMBLE, Texas—The veterans have replaced the upstarts at the top of the leader board at the Shell Houston Open.
Stewart Cink and Bill Haas, who combine for 10 PGA Tour wins, are tied at 11-under-par 205 for the 54-hole lead at Redstone Golf Club’s Tournament Course. Fifteen players, however, are within two shots.
Cink, a six-time PGA Tour winner whose last victory was the 2009 British Open, has made only one bogey so far this week. He shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday to claim a share of the lead. Haas, whose father Jay won the 1987 Shell Houston Open 26 years ago, made seven birdies Saturday on the way to a 5-under 67.
Both are looking forward to playing in the final group Sunday.
“It’s being under the gun, feeling the pressure and hoping I can handle them,” Haas said of the mentality of playing with the lead. “I want to keep seeing those putts go in.”
Four players are a shot back at 10-under par, including second-year tour pro Jason Kokrak and Monday Qualifer Steve Wheatcroft, who began the third round in the lead. Ben Crane and D.A. Points, the 18-hole leader, join Kokrak and Wheatcroft at 10-under.
A group of nine players sit tied for seventh place at 9-under par. It includes Louis Oosthuizen and Bud Cauley, who turned into the two best rounds on Saturday. They each shot 7-under 65s.
“I definitely have good vibes coming back here,” said Cauley, who finished tied for eighth in Houston last year. “But I’ve been working really hard on my game. I think more than anything else, that’s why I’m playing well.”
Oosthuizen finished third at the SHO last year and tied for 16th in 2011. He said the Houston Golf Association’s spot on the schedule and The Tournament Course itself were reasons why he thinks he plays well at Redstone.
“It’s probably the excitement of playing Augusta in two weeks,” he said. “Redstone is a great track. It’s a great way to get yourself ready for Augusta and it’s a great way to get yourself ready.”
Phil Mickelson made a move up the leader board with a 5-under 67. He made seven birdies in all, including three of the final four holes. He’s tied for 21st place at 6-under, five shots back.
“The game really started to fall into place, especially on the back nine,” said Mickelson who is playing this week without a driver. “I started to feel much better on the greens, getting a good touch. I’m excited about tomorrow’s round. It feels like it’s getting better each day and that’s what I’m hoping for. I feel like I’ll have a low one tomorrow.”
Rory McIlroy made four birdies to get to 5-under for the tournament but made bogeys on three of his last six holes to post 1-under 71. He’s 2-under overall and tied for 48th place.
“I’m happy,” he said. “I hit the ball really well. It’s the best I’ve hit it on the golf course this week. Obviously the finish wasn’t what I wanted. Just some silly mistakes from rustiness, I guess. I think with a little more competitive play, I’ll eradicate that.”
The final round begins Sunday morning. For complete results, click here.