PGA Tour rookie Luke Guthrie and Michael Thompson survived the chilly, blustery conditions and shared the lead Saturday in the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
With wind making the course play longer and the water look even more daunting, Guthrie held on for a 1-over-par 71 in his first time playing in the last group on tour. The 22-year-old from Illinois closed with eight good pars. Thompson narrowly missed a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th hole for a 70.
They were at 8-under 202, and had to buckle down for what figures to be a wide open final round.
Lee Westwood chipped in for an unlikely birdie on the 14th hole, made a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th, and salvaged a par despite hitting his 3-wood into the water on the final hole for a 70 that left him only two shots behind. Geoff Ogilvy also had to work hard for a 70, starting with three bogeys on the opening four holes. Ogilvy made a 7-foot birdie putt on the 18th to join Westwood at 202 and give him a great chance to erase a miserable West Coast Swing.
Ogilvy, who failed to finish in the top 50 and qualify for the Masters at the end of last year by one shot, missed his last four cuts and didn’t qualify for the Match Play Championship last weekend. He has until the end of the month to go from No. 79 to the top 50, making Sunday an important day.
Eleven players are separated by four shots going into the final round, a group that included Rickie Fowler (69), Charles Howell III (71), Keegan Bradley (70), and Justin Rose (72).
Missing from the mix was Tiger Woods.
Woods had hoped to post a low score to at least get into contention and was headed that way with a 32 on the front nine. But he didn’t make another birdie the rest of the way, and took a double bogey on the par-3 17th when his shot plugged into the bank short of the green and he never found the ball. He wound up with a 70, not a bad score under the conditions, but not good enough to achieve what he wanted. He was eight shots behind.
Woods was nine shots out of the lead a year ago after 54 holes, closed with a 62 and was runner-up by two shots to Rory McIlroy.
Instead of the No. 1 player at the top of the leaderboard, there is a pair of players who have never won on the PGA Tour, two players who realized that a victory Sunday would get them into the Masters. Thompson hasn’t been to Augusta National since 2008 as a US Amateur finalist.
If the wind is anything like it was Saturday, it could be a matter of hanging on — and not just for them.
‘‘Even par for the day was never going to go backward,’’ Ogilvy said. ‘‘It was only going to go forward, and I did that.’’
Proof of that was the scoring. No one among the last 20 players to tee off Saturday broke par. Former PGA champion Y.E. Yang had a 67, the low score of the third round, and moved up 36 spots into a tie for seventh.
Westwood made a pair of sloppy bogeys to end the front nine and was in danger of falling too far behind until a 33 on the back nine got him back in the game.
LPGA — Stacy Lewis shared the lead with Na Yeon Choi at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore after the South Korean birdied the 18th hole in a rain-delayed third round.
Choi shot a 5-under 67 to tie the 28-year-old American at 14-under 202. Lewis, the overnight leader and reigning LPGA Player of the Year, had a 69.
Paula Creamer, who injured her shoulder in a car accident after a tournament in Thailand last weekend, shot 69 to trail the leaders by two shots.
Four golfers were three strokes behind Creamer — American Danielle Kang (70), Spaniard Azahara Munoz (72), South Korean Sun Young Yoo (72), and Thai 17-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn (72).
European — Peter Uihlein, the 2010 US Amateur champion from Mattapoisett, Mass., shot a 4-under 68 to pull within two shots of the lead after three rounds of the Tshwane Open in Centurion, South Africa.
Darren Fichardt (64) is tied atop the leaderboard at 16-under with Chilean Mark Tullo (67) and fellow South Africans Charl Coetzee (68) and Dawie Van Der Walt (67).
Uihlein birdied two of the last three holes to get into contention.
Web.com — Jim Renner of Plainville, Mass., fired a 5-under 66 to grab a share of the third-round lead with Peter Cantlay (65) at 13-under 200 in the Colombia Championship in Bogota.