Last year, Scott Stallings left the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, Calif., early after a funny conversation that probably made his aching ribs hurt even more.
‘‘I played La Quinta for one round and I played with Carl Pettersson and, after nine holes, he said, ‘Either you’re going to withdraw or I'm going to withdraw. I can’t watch this anymore,’ ’’ said Stallings, forced to withdraw after tearing cartilage around five ribs.
This year, Stallings is in position to run away with his third PGA Tour title after opening a five-stroke lead Saturday. He shot a 9-under 63 at PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus course to reach 22-under 194 after three days in perfect conditions in the Coachella Valley.
Stallings made two eagles, hitting a 6-iron to 8 feet on the par-5 13th early in the round and holing a 20-foot downhill putt on the par-5 eighth.
Phil Mickelson made the cut by two strokes at 11 under in his season debut. After birdieing Nos. 16 and 17, he hit his second shot on the par-5 18th into the water, but salvaged a par for a bogey-free 66 on the Palmer course. The tournament is his first since November.
John Rollins (64), Stallings’s playing partner, was tied for second with Stewart Cink (66), Roberto Castro (69), Charles Howell III (67), and Charley Hoffman (67).
Brian Stuard missed a chance to become the sixth player in PGA Tour history to shoot 59, settling for a 62 on the Nicklaus course. After eagling the par-5 16th to reach 11 under for the day, he needed to birdie the final two holes for golf’s magic number. He parred the par-3 17th and bogeyed the par-4 18th to end up in an eight-player group at 16 under par.
Mike Weir, the 2003 champion, closed with a triple bogey on the Palmer course to miss his 17th consecutive cut.
European — Justin Rose extended his lead at the Abu Dhabi Championship in the United Arab Emirates, shooting a 4-under 68 to take a two-shot lead over Jamie Donaldson (69) and Thorbjorn Olesen (69).
A day after top-ranked Rory McIlroy and second-ranked Tiger Woods missed the cut, the fifth-ranked Rose made his third round look easy. After three-putting on the first for a bogey, Rose had six birdies over nine holes — including an approach shot on No. 9 that rolled to 4 feet from the hole for birdie. He is at 12-under 204.