Villegas in driving seat at Honda Classic

 

Golf:Camilo Villegas will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the €4million Honda Classic at Palm Beach after maintaining his consistent scoring with a three under 67 in the third round.

The Colombian shared the lead with Anthony Kim at the start of play but, while the American Ryder Cup star struggled to a 73, Villegas went six better to move three clear of the field on 11 under.

Australia’s Nathan Green (67) shares second with Vijay Singh (69) on eight under, while American George McNeill equalled the best round of the day, 66, to join compatriot Matt Every (69) at six under.

Villegas had shot back-to-back 66s on the first two days and continued his impressive form with birdies at the third, fourth, sixth and ninth on a blemish-free outward half.

He found it harder going after the turn, but traded bogeys at the 10th, 12th and 14th with birdies at 11 and 16 to give himself a cushion.

Kim’s round began to unravel with two untidy holes on the front nine. Having birdied the third, he dropped three shots at the sixth and seventh with a double-bogey six followed by a bogey four.

Having regained his composure to birdie 11 and 13 and return to level par for his round, he then undid his good work by closing with three successive bogeys,

including a duffed chip at the last, and six off the pace may be too far back to challenge.

Green set off in great style with birdies at the first two holes and gained another shot at the seventh to make it an excellent front nine. A further birdie followed at 15 and his flawless card was only marred by a six at the par-five 18th.

Singh shrugged off the same fate as Kim at the sixth, a double bogey, and made four birdies as his 69 left the Fijian within striking distance.

A nightmare back nine saw Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, nicely poised at five under at the start of the day, slip back after a 71. Out in 33, the Ryder

Cup player dropped shots at 10 and 15 before a double-bogey at 16 left the 30-year-old seven off the pace.

Two birdies in a solid if unspectacular round appeared to have boosted Englishman Paul Casey’s challenge until a double-bogey five at the penultimate hole left him three under par, level with Swede Fredrik Jacobsen.

Rory McIlroy endured a terrible day, shooting 75 to be five over, and only six players are now below him. He twice dropped shots on the front nine but came back to level par on each occasion - but bogeys at 14 and 17 sandwiched an horrendous six at the par-three 15th.

Pádraig Harrington shot 72, managing just a solitary birdie at the 16th after three bogeys, to be one shot better than McIlroy.

Collated third round scores and totals from the Honda Classic, PGA National Champion Course, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, US

(USA unless stated, par 70):

199Camilo Villegas (Col) 66 66 67

202Vijay Singh (Fij) 67 66 69, Nathan Green (Aus) 65 70 67

204George McNeill 68 70 66, Matthew Every 69 66 69

205Anthony Kim 68 64 73, Michael Connell 65 71 69

206J.B. Holmes 71 69 66, Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 68 67 71

207Charlie Wi (Kor) 72 67 68, Chris Tidland 73 67 67, Fredrik Jacobson (Swe) 69 69 69, Paul Casey (Eng) 73 64 70, Sam Saunders 69 69 69

208Jerry Kelly 69 65 74, Henrik Bjornstad (Nor) 68 70 70, Justin Leonard 72 70 66, Chad Collins 72 70 66, Mike Weir (Can) 71 64 73, Ted Purdy 68 70 70, Tom Gillis 68 70 70, Stephen Ames (Can) 73 64 71

209Brett Quigley 70 68 71, Justin Rose (Eng) 70 72 67, Oliver Wilson (Eng) 66 73 70, Steve Wheatcroft 71 68 70, Chez Reavie 70 65 74, D.J. Trahan 67 73 69

210Will MacKenzie 69 72 69, Brendon De Jonge 70 73 67, Richard S Johnson (Swe) 69 72 69, Michael Bradley 69 70 71, Charles Howell III 69 70 71, Lee Westwood (Eng) 69 71 70, Alex Prugh 68 73 69

211Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 71 69 71, Joe Ogilvie 72 68 71, Angel Cabrera (Arg) 69 74 68, Alex Cejka (Ger) 68 68 75, Marc Leishman (Aus) 74 66 71, Brandt Snedeker 70 73 68, Johnson Wagner 73 69 69, Rich Barcelo 73 70 68

212Jason Dufner 72 71 69, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 74 69 69, Scott Piercy 68 75 69, Bo Van Pelt 71 69 72, Briny Baird 72 70 70, Rocco Mediate 73 65 74, Josh Teater 75 68 69, Jason Bohn 71 67 74

213David Lutterus (Rsa) 73 69 71, Alexandre Rocha (Bra) 66 76 71, Ernie Els (Rsa) 73 70 70, Jimmy Walker 75 66 72, Bubba Watson 67 73 73

214Steve Lowery 69 73 72, Matthew Jones (Aus) 69 73 72, Blake Adams 75 68 71, Mark Calcavecchia 73 69 72, Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 73 68 73, Craig Bowden 73 69 72, Stuart Appleby (Aus) 74 69 71, Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 71 71 72

215Chris Stroud 71 68 76, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 71 69 75, John Senden (Aus) 74 68 73, Jerod Turner 74 69 72

217Chris Riley 71 71 75

218Vaughn Taylor 69 73 76, Jeff Quinney 73 69 76

219Mark Wilson 73 69 77

221Derek Lamely 71 72 78

223Garrett Willis 70 73 80