San Antonio: Billy Horschel held off an experienced leaderboard to shoot 2-under 70 and take a two-shot lead entering the final round of the Texas Open on Saturday. Horschel, who also held the lead after the second round, battled through the gusting San Antonio wind to reach 10 under overall - two shots ahead of Jim Furyk and Charley Hoffman.
Horschel was second at last week's Houston Open and extended his US PGA Tour-best streak of consecutive made cuts to 21 this week. Rory McIlroy shot a 1-under 71 and was four shots back. McIlroy tied for the low round on Friday with a 67, but he was inconsistent off the tee in his third round and had four birdies and three bogeys.
Furyk, playing the course for the first time this week - and after rain limited his practice round to four holes on Wednesday - birdied No. 18 to cap a 3-under effort for the day and to reach Sunday's final pairing.
Ryan Palmer had the low round of the day, posting a 4-under 68. Furyk, McIlroy and Padraig Harrington, all former major winners, were each within five shots of the lead. McIlroy hit just 7 of 14 fairways for the second time in the tournament, continuing his trend of up-and-down play this year after an offseason equipment change.
The two-time major winner, who lost the top ranking to Tiger Woods this year, signed up for the tournament only late last week - in search of as many competitive rounds as possible entering next week's Masters.
He opened with two birdies over his first three holes on Saturday, climbing to 7 under and within a shot of Horschel, who had yet to tee off.
However, he fell back to 4 under with bogeys on Nos. 4, 10 and 11 before closing with birdies on Nos. 12 and 14 to stay in contention entering the final round.
Horschel, meanwhile, had a similar up-and-down day as the weather warmed up and the strong south Texas wind picked up for the first time in the tournament. He made five birdies, reaching as low as 11 under after a confident 6-foot birdie putt on No. 14 - one of only 23 putts he needed in the round.
Hoffman, playing in the final pairing with Horschel, briefly took the lead after a birdie on No. 8. The two-time winner on tour went to 9 under after reaching the par 5 in two, and Horschel followed with a bogey for a two-shot swing that sent Friday's leader to 8 under.
It didn't take Horschel long to regain the lead for good, with another two-shot swing on the next hole. The gusty wind on the 7,435-yard layout took its toll, but it was enough to put Horschel well within reach of his first US PGA Tour win.
More from this Section
September 3, 2015, 12:37 am IST
September 3, 2015, 12:30 am IST
September 3, 2015, 12:25 am IST
September 2, 2015, 11:42 pm IST