Hoffman Retains Top Spot in Texas


04 Permian Basin Charity Golf Classic MIDLAND, Texas -- Charley Hoffman posted a 1-under 71 on Saturday to retain a share of the lead through three rounds of the Permian Basin Charity Golf Classic. Hoffman is joined at 6-under-par 210 by Craig Lile.
James Driscoll, who won the Virginia Beach Open earlier this year, stands alone in third place at 5-under-par 211. David Hearn, who shared the second-round lead with Hoffman, struggled to a 1-over 73. He shares fourth place with Jacob's Creek Open winner Euan Walters at minus-4.
Lile dropped in back-to-back birdies from the second to get to 3 under. The 27-year-old posted another birdie at the sixth, but he tripped to a bogey at the following hole.
The South African drained a birdie try at the 11th and made it two in a row as he birdied the 12th. Lile carded four consecutive pars before draining a birdie try at the 17th. Lile got to the clubhouse at minus-6 as he shot a 5-under 67, one of just six rounds in the 60s on the day.
'I saw the board and Hearn was 8 under,' Lile said. 'I was 3 under at the time and thought I needed to shoot 2- or 3-under on the back to stay in it with a chance tomorrow. I thought someone would get to 10 under. When I finished at six, I figured I might be within two or three. I asked my caddie how far behind I was and he told me I was tied. What a bonus!'
Hoffman, who currently holds the 60th spot on the money list and the final space in the Nationwide Tour Championship, meanwhile fell off the pace as he double bogeyed the first. He tumbled to minus-2 as he bogeyed the par-3 eighth at Midland Country Club.
'It pretty much screwed me up,' said Hoffman of his double bogey. 'I was lost. All of a sudden it hit me like a brick upside my head.'
Around the turn, Hoffman battled back into contention. He converted a birdie try at the 12th and came back with another birdie at 14 to get back to minus-4.
Hoffman sank back-to-back birdies tries from the 16th to move to 6 under and a share of the lead. He managed a par at the last to stay there.
'It's good to come back from that,' Hoffman said of his early struggles. 'It gives me a lot of confidence. It was one of the better 71s I've shot.'
Lile and Hoffman both hold a share of the third round lead for the first time in their careers and neither golfer has won on the Nationwide Tour.
Bubba Watson fired the round of the day as he posted a six-under 66. That moved him to 3-under-par 213 and he is tied there by Steven Alker, Paul Claxton, Rafael Gomez and Jeff Gove.
Matt Bettencourt, Eduardo Herrera, Matthew Jones, Chris Tidland and D.J. Trahan are one stroke further back at minus-2.
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