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Northern Trust Open: Retief Goosen leads heading into final round

Retief Goosen maintains a two-shot lead following the third round of the Northern Trust Open

Retief Goosen will take a two-shot lead into Sunday’s final round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club.

The 46-year old Goosen, seeking his first tournament win since 2009, held his 36-hole lead by shooting two-under 69 on Saturday.

Through 54 holes he stands with an eight-under 205, two shots better than Graham DeLaet.

Three players — Sang-Moon Bae, Carlos Ortiz and Sergio Garcia — are three shots off the lead at five-under 208.

The leaderboard boasts five players with 10 total major championships: Goosen, the leader, and four players at four-under 209: Jim Furyk, Angel Cabrera, Vijay Singh and Bubba Watson.

Singh, who turns 52 on Sunday, is vying to become the second oldest player to win a PGA Tour event. Sam Snead won the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open at age 52, 10 months and eight days.

“I’m playing well,” Singh said after shooting two-under 69. “I just need to, you know, keep in touch with the leaders and just go out and play my game.”

Watson, after his one-under 70, is also decently positioned to defend his Northern Trust Open championship.

Watson said he hopes the chance of rain, forecast for Sunday, doesn't throw him off his game.

"I'm not known as a great player in the rain because of my swing speed," Watson said. "Hopefully I can stay calm and stay consistent and putt off this little bit of water we're going to have."

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1:26 p.m.: Sergio Garcia made, arguably, the greatest par four in the history of golf in Saturday’s third round of the Northern Trust Open.

Garcia sliced his tee shot so badly off the par-four 13th hole it landed in the green side bunker at No. 10.

The ball landed about 10 feet from where Ryan Moore was about to putt his second shot up the slope onto the No. 10 green. Moore had just nearly holed his tee shot for a double-eagle only to watch his ball roll off the green.

The group of Moore, Retief Goosen and Graham DeLaet were shocked when a strange ball plunked in the bunker.

You wondered at first whether a lunatic fan had thrown the ball.

Nope. A few minutes later, Garcia sauntered up and considered his seemingly impossible options. He asked for the marshals to split the gallery like the Red Sea and that the 11th tee box post be taken down.

Then, he pulled out a three-iron and hit a low, rocket shot through two eucalyptus trees, just left of a temporary television tower. It was like a carnival trick shot, or trying to throw a football threw a tire.

Garcia’s ball landed short of the 13th green. He then got up and down for a par four that kept him in contention at four-under overall.

Like they say in those PGA commercials: these guys are good.

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11:47 a.m.: It took until late morning for the sun to break through the marine layer overhanging Riviera Country Club.

A pretty good golf tournament may also be breaking out at the Northern Trust Open.

Retief Goosen, who took a one-shot lead into the third round, is trying to hold off the field. The two-time U.S. Open winner was two-under through first six holes and shares the lead at eight-under overall with Graham DeLaet.

DeLaet started his day with an eagle at the first.

It’s been a rough Saturday so far for 21-year-old Justin Thomas, who began the third round only one-shot back of 36-hole leader Retief Goosen.

Thomas started with a bogey on the easy par-five first hole, and then made triple on the par-three sixth. He was four-over on the day through six and one-under overall.

Making a big move is Sang-Moon Bae, who started the day at even-par overall but is five under for the day. He made four birdies in his first seven holes.

Also charging is Dustin Johnson, who started the day at even-overall but was four-under through his first 12 holes. Jim Furyk is three-under for the day and four-under overall.

Defending Northern Trust champion Bubba Watson started his round at three-under and is holding steady through his seven holes, off-setting a birdie at the first with a bogey on the second.

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9:29 a.m.: After a last bit of second-round business at the Northern Trust Open, Saturday's third-round action is underway at Riviera Country Club.

Alex Prugh, the only player not to finish Friday before play was suspended at 6:05 due to darkness, finished up his two-over-par round of 73.

Retief Goosen, the 36-hole leader at six-under 136, tees off at hole No. 1 in the final grouping at 9:50 a.m.

Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open champion who is looking for his first PGA win since 2009, will play with Ryan Moore and Graham DeLaet, two of three players who were one shot back.

The 9:39 grouping, though, may be the one to watch. That features 21-year old Justin Thomas, also one shot off the lead, playing with multiple major champions Angel Cabrera and Bubba Watson.

Thomas is a PGA Tour rookie looking for his first win. Cabrera, at four-under, has won the Masters and U.S. Open. Watson, at three-under, is the defending Northern Trust champion and a two-time Masters winner.

The 36-hole cut, as expected, fell at three-over 145. That eliminated two-time champion Fred Couples, who missed a six-foot par putt on his last hole to finish at 146.

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