Jimmy Walker opened a four-stroke lead over fellow Texan Jordan Spieth, shooting a three-under-par 69 on Saturday in his hometown Texas Open.
Walker, who lives 35 minutes away from TPC San Antonio, is looking for his fifth title in two tour seasons. He had a nine-under 207 total after opening with rounds of 71 and 67.
“It's a tough golf course,” said Walker, the winner of the Sony Open in Hawaii in January. “I thought coming into today that even par or maybe 1 under would be a good score. You definitely want to find a way to extend the lead, but you have to be smart about it.”
Spieth shot a 71. The 21-year-old Dallas player, coming off a playoff victory two weeks ago at Innisbrook, had a double bogey, two bogeys and two birdies on the final six holes.
“It's not ideal — I really look for more consistency,” Spieth said.
FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel birdied the final three holes for a 69 to get to three under.
“I wanted to give myself some opportunities coming in,” Horschel said. “It was a nice one to get at 16 — it was blowing downwind and that green has been pretty firm all week. And they had the tees moved up at 17 and 18, just straight downwind today.”
Five players were seven back of Walker at 2 under. Zach Johnson birdied the last two holes for a 72, Chesson Hadley had a 71, tour rookie Scott Pinckney shot 69, 2011 champion Brendan Steele had a 72, and Jason Kokrak finished with a 71.
Phil Mickelson was even par after a 74. He had a near double-eagle on the 14th hole.
Tied making the turn, Walker broke away from Spieth with a two-shot swing on the par-5 14th and extended when Spieth hit his tee shot at the par-3 16th into more trouble well right of the grandstand.
Both players have long-established roots in Texas. Spieth played on the Texas Longhorns' national champion team in 2012, and Walker was an All-American at Baylor.
“Jordan and I played the first two days out here and we had a lot of people,” Walker said. “We'll probably have even more people tomorrow. It should be fun.”
Mirim Lee took the Kia Classic lead Saturday, while top-ranked Lydia Ko easily increased her LPGA Tour under-par streak to 27 rounds but dropped two late strokes and ended up four shots behind.
Lee shot a six-under 66 to reach 16-under 200 at Aviara, leaving her a stroke ahead of former UCLA player Alison Lee in the final event before the first major of the season next week at Rancho Mirage.
The 17-year-old Ko shot a 67 to move within two rounds of matching Annika Sorenstam's LPGA Tour record for consecutive rounds under par of 29 set in 2004. Ko pushed her worldwide streak to 30.
Mirim Lee had five birdies and a 6-foot par save on the par-four 18th in a back-nine 31. The 24-year-old South Korean player won LPGA Tour events last year in Michigan and China.
The 20-year-old Alison Lee had her second straight 66. She's making her fourth LPGA Tour start as a professional. Last year, she won the Pac-12 title as a freshman at UCLA and was co-medalist at Q-school.
Kevin Sutherland birdied three of the final six holes Saturday for a five-under 67 and the second-round lead in the Champions Tour's Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in Saucier.
Those birdies pushed him to the top and he protected the lead with key par saves from bunkers on the last two holes, including one from a buried lie and awkward stance on the par-three 17th.
“I didn't have a stance and the ball's plugged,” Sutherland said. “If someone would have given me a 4, I would have taken it. I thought if I could just pop it out I might could run it up to the hole. I was just hoping to get a putt at it and I did and I was fortunate enough to make it. Just ended up in a bad spot but was able to make the best of it.”
Sutherland, the one-time PGA Tour winner who shot the first 59 in Champions Tour history last year in Endicott, N.Y., chipped in for birdie from behind the 12th green and birdied Nos. 15 and 16.
He had a two-stroke lead over 2011 MGRC champ Tom Lehman, but he doesn't have the “hangover” from a record round like he did the last time he took a lead into the final round.