Howell clings to 1-shot lead over Champ, Gore
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.
Charles Howell III watches his chip shot onto the second green during the third round of the RSM Classic.