How­ell clings to 1-shot lead over Champ, Gore

Belleville News-Democrat (Sunday) - - Sports - BY DOUG FER­GU­SON

ST. SI­MONS IS­LAND, GA.

Charles How­ell III had a 2-un­der 68 for a one-shot lead Satur­day in the RSM Clas­sic, along with a re­minder that win­ning for the first time in more than 11 years won’t be easy.

With two quick birdies, How­ell stretched his lead to five shots.

By the end of the third round, his lead was down to one shot over PGA Tour rookie Cameron Champ and Ja­son Gore, who each shot 66 and made up ground on the back nine of the Sea­side course at Sea Is­land.

How­ell was at 16-un­der 194 as he tries to end 332 starts on the PGA Tour with­out win­ning.

“I have a chance to win the tour­na­ment, and I’d have taken that Thurs­day morn­ing,” How­ell said.

His last vic­tory was at Riviera in 2007, and the last time How­ell had at least a share of the 54hole lead was 10 years ago at Turn­ing Stone, a tour­na­ment that no longer ex­ists. How­ell has not won in any of his pre­vi­ous five times atop the leader­board go­ing into the fi­nal round.

Webb Simp­son had a 63 and was two shots be­hind, along with Ryan Blaum (65). Ten play­ers are within five shots of the lead, a list that in­cludes Sea Is­land res­i­dent Zach John­son, who had a 65.

That was the size of How­ell’s lead over the field when he had two birdies through three holes, and even af­ter his first bo­gey of the tour­na­ment when he went just over the back of the green at No. 4. But he re­cov­ered with a pair of birdies, made the turn in 32 and had a four-shot lead over Champ.

And then it was steady golf the rest of the way as Champ and Gore, along with Simp­son and oth­ers, closed the gap.

Champ ran off four straight birdies start­ing with the par-5 sev­enth, the last two from about 20 feet. Gore missed a tap-in par on the ninth and was burn­ing, but he bounced back with a birdie to start the back nine.

STEPHEN B. MOR­TON AP

Charles How­ell III watches his chip shot onto the sec­ond green dur­ing the third round of the RSM Clas­sic.

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