AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
CHARLOTTEE: Webb Simpson soared to the top of a crowded leaderboard after three rounds of the USPGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship by shooting a three-under 69 at Quail Hollow on Saturday.
Simpson birdied two of his final four holes as he took a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Ryan Moore and DA Points in the $6.5 million event at Quail Hollow. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” Simpson said. “I look at the leaderboard and there’s so many great players within a shot or two. So I know it is going to be a tough final day.”
Those in the chasing pack didn’t include 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, who missed the cut on Friday for just the eighth time in his pro career. Moore (68) and Points (69) both shot bogey-free rounds and were tied for second at 13-under 203.
Former champion Rory McIlroy registered eight birdies and two bogeys en route to a six-under 66 for 204. World No 2 McIlroy, the reigning US Open champion, was tied for fourth with overnight leader Nick Watney, who shot an even-par 72. The young star from Northern Ireland has a shot at regaining the top ranking this week.
Simpson, who was tied for the lead after the first round, reached a 54-hole total of 14-under 202, capping his round with a two-putt par at 18. Simpson posted a birdie on the par-four 15th and then rolled in a 12-foot putt for birdie on 17. He was among seven players who had a share of the lead at one time or another in the round.
Simpson, who won both of his US tour titles last year, said the eight-foot birdie putt on 15 was the turning point. “I hit a bad drive and had a bad lie in the rough and we actually considered laying it up, but it was one of those moments where you’ve got to take a chance, and it came out perfect,” Simpson said.
Points said he would take the 69 even though he didn’t putt very well. “As a golfer I’m not very happy with the way I’m putting,” Points said. “But if I focus on that instead of focusing on the 69 with no bogeys, my dinner is not going to taste very good, so I’m going to focus on the 69 with no bogeys and be excited about the position I’m in.”
McIlroy liked his chances heading into the final round after he made par on the par-four 18 to get into the clubhouse at 12-under.