Welshman Maintains British Masters Lead
Local favorite Ian Poulter, two shots back of Price at the start of the day, drew closer to the top spot with his second straight 67. He finished alone in second at 14-under, two shots ahead of fellow Englishmen Justin Rose (65) and Gary Evans (66), and Denmark's Soren Hansen (67).
Colin Montgomerie, the winner of this event in 1998 when it was held at the Marriott Forest of Arden, shot a 68 for a share of sixth place with Trevor Immelman (68) and two-time major winner Sandy Lyle (70) at minus 9.
Price opened a three-shot lead at 16-under when he posted his fifth birdie of the day, and 17th of the week, at the par-4 12th. But he left his long birdie attempt seven feet short at the 18th green, then missed his par putt for his first bogey since his fourth hole of the opening round - a span of 49 holes without a dropped shot.
'I thought we would pull away from the field a little but we have brought everybody back,' said Price, who also lipped out a four-foot putt for birdie at the 16th hole. 'If someone shoots low we'll have to watch out.'
Price will be seeking his third European Tour title. He captured the Portuguese Open in 1994 and 2001.
Poulter seemed destined to post a big number at the final hole when his drive found the trees right of the fairway. He recovered by playing a daring punch shot between a narrow opening in the branches that wound up just short of the green, then chipped to 10 feet and rolled in the putt to save par.
Poulter, 26, will play the final round alongside Price, the man who edged him out for the last automatic spot on the European Ryder Cup team. Poulter will also be paired with good friend Rose, who has been his guest this week at his house.
'I think it will be exciting,' said Poulter, who won the Italian Open in his rookie year of 2000 and earned the Moroccan Open title last season. '[Rose] plays a similar game to me and I think it will be a fiery three-ball tomorrow. It will be good fun.'
Rose, who was born in South Africa before moving to England at the age of five, reeled in his first European Tour victory at the Dunhill Championship in Johannesburg back in January. He followed with a win at the Southern Africa Tour's Nashua Masters and recently grabbed another international title in Japan.
His goal now is to hoist a trophy on English soil.
'I was determined to be more focused and it seems to be working,' said the 21-year-old Rose. 'I am just making an effort to stay concentrated and not look around at friends in the gallery.'
Ireland's Padraig Harrington turned in a seven-birdie, no-bogey 65 to move within seven shots of the lead at 8-under-par.
Defending champion Thomas Levet, who began the third round five strokes off the pace, bolted out of the gate with an eagle at the second hole but tallied five bogeys against just two birdies the rest of the way. He finished 10 shots back of the lead with a 1-over 73.
Full-field scores from the British Masters
Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.
While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.
He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.
"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."
Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.
"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.
Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.
"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"
The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.
"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.
Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.
"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."
Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.
Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.
"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."
Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.
"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.
When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.
The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.
The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.