Haas seeks back-to-back wins, leads by 3

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It appears that Bill Haas is not quite ready to relinquish the trophy at the Northern Trust Open.

Having won here in a playoff last year, Haas fired the lowest round of the day Saturday, a 7-under 64, and at 12-under 201 he leads by three shots entering the final round at Riviera.

Haas began his day slowly, but vaulted into the lead after playing holes 7-11 in 5 under, highlighted by a chip-in eagle at the short, par-4 10th. That stretch helped the 2011 FedEx Cup champion separate from the field on a day when only one other person carded a round below 68.


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'I made some great up and downs out there, some nice par saves to keep that round going,' said Haas, who has now gone 40 consecutive holes without a bogey. 'It's nice to come back after last year, you hear a lot of people yelling, 'Do it again.' It just gives you good mojo.'

Though Haas leads, there are several top-ranked players in close pursuit, including reigning U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson and former Masters winner Charl Schwartzel. Both are tied for second place along with John Merrick at 9-under 204, three shots off the pace, after matching rounds of 3-under 68. World No. 3 Luke Donald is one shot further back, tied for fifth at 8 under alongside Fredrik Jacobson, who shared the lead entering Saturday but fell back following a 1-over 72.

Josh Teater and Charlie Beljan both moved inside the top 10 with rounds of 3-under 68, ascending into a tie for seventh at 7 under. Hunter Mahan and Sergio Garcia round out the top 10 entering the final round, tied at 6 under after rounds of 68 and 69, respectively. 

While several big names moved up the leaderboard Saturday, neither Phil Mickelson nor Lee Westwood were able to get things going during their third rounds. Mickelson was derailed by three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the front nine, ultimately shooting a 1-over 72, while Westwood struggled to a 3-over 74. Both will begin the final round tied for 17th at 3 under, nine shots off the lead.