Joe Durant followed a career low 61 in the second round with a solid 5-under-par 67 on the host PGA West Coast.
'Anytime you shoot a low round, the next day is kind of difficult,' Durant said. 'It was a little tough to follow yesterday.'
Durant stands at 23-under-par 193, a new 54-hole tournament record by two strokes. The 36-year-old Floridian is three strokes clear of Paul Stankowski, who chipped in for eagle on his final hole at Bermuda Dunes for a 7-under-par 65.
Kevin Sutherland is alone in third place at 19-under after shooting a third-round 66. His day at PGA West included a hole-in-one on the 130-yard par-3 17th, his eighth hole of the day.
'As it turned out, I didn't play to well after that,' said Sutherland. 'I kind of forgot about the hole-in-one pretty fast.'
Tom Pernice, Jr. (66), Miguel Angel Jimenez (68), Chris Smith (69) and Bob Tway (68) are all tied for fourth place at 18-under.
Jimenez was one of four players to shoot 62 or better in the second round. Friday, Scott McCarron fired the low round of the day, a nine-under-par 63 at Indian Wells. McCarron is now in a tie for 11th at 15-under.
Mark Calcavecchia is in eighth place at 17-under after limping around PGA West in 69 strokes. Calcavecchia injured his left knee during the third round and was forced to receive on course medical attention. A trainer checked Calc's knee and handed him a brace, which he wore over his final nine holes.
That fact the Durant leads the tournament is a bit of a surprise. The fact that he's never made the cut in three previous Hope starts makes that more shocking. And the fact that he's played the first three rounds better than anyone in the 42-year history of this event makes it down right remarkable.
Durant entered the third round with a three-shot lead and managed to maintain that advantage by carding six birdies and one bogey on Friday.
After making the turn in 1-under 35, Durant birdied the 10th, 11th, and 14th holes to move to 22-under for the tournament. He then rolled in an unlikely birdie from 40 feet at the 16th to finish his scoring.
'The key to this tournament is staying patient even if the world is making a million birdies,' Durant said. 'In the past it's been difficult for me because I get impatient.'
News, Notes and Numbers
*Defending champion Jesper Parnevik, who withdrew before the event began, is a father to his fourth child. Parnevik's wife, Mia, gave birth to a seven-pound, 11-ounce boy Friday afternoon.
*Kevin Sutherland's ace on the 17th at PGA West was the first of the tournament. Had it come on Sunday, he would have won a car.
*The cut will be made following Saturday's fourth round. The 128-man field will be trimmed down to the low 70 and ties for the final round on PGA West.
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