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Golf roundup: Max Homa among three sharing third-round lead at American Express

Max Homa hits from the first tee during the third round of the American Express golf tournament on Jan. 23, 2021.
Burbank-born Max Homa shot a seven-under 65 and is tied for the lead with Tony Finau and Si Woo Kim at 15-under 201 in the American Express in La Quinta.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Max Homa has been tearing up the Stadium Course at the American Express for two days. If he can do it one more time Sunday in La Quinta, the Southern California native could be raising his second career PGA Tour trophy.

Homa made nine birdies and shrugged off a double-bogey on the way to a seven-under-par 65 in the third round Saturday, joining Tony Finau and Si Woo Kim atop the leaderboard at 15-under 201.

Richy Werenski also shot a 65 and moved within a stroke of the lead on the Stadium Course at PGA West near Palm Springs.

Scotland’s Russell Knox shot the day’s low round with a 64 — one stroke off the course record — to join Brian Harman and Emiliano Grillo at 13 under.

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Finau and Kim each shot a 67. Kim was bogey-free, while the streakier Finau bounced back from a double bogey on the 13th with three consecutive birdies.

The field played through sparse desert rain in the afternoon. Precipitation finally fell in earnest when the final group reached the 18th hole, with Finau and Kim forced to pull out their umbrellas.

Second-round leader Sungjae Im struggled to a 73, leaving him five strokes off the lead after four bogeys — including a triple-bogey on the ninth after putting two straight shots in the water. First-round leader Brandon Hagy shot a 72 and was even with Im at 10 under.

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Homa is in prime position for his second career win in his first tournament of the new year. He began the day just three shots off Im’s pace at eight under, and he swiftly closed the gap with four birdies in his first five holes.

Homa has 17 birdies in the last two rounds on the Stadium Course.

“There’s obviously a handful of very daunting holes, but I’ve been fortunate enough to play here a ton, so I have a pretty good feel for the place,” Homa said. “I’ve been able to put myself in a position to have good looks for birdie, and I’ve been putting great. It’s just something about these greens. It feels like home.”

The Burbank-born son of a well-known acting coach put his tee shot in the water and two-putted for that double-bogey on the seventh, but Homa made up for it with birdies on five of his next eight holes, including three in a row down the back stretch.

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Finau put his tee shot in the water on the 13th and then missed a 10-inch putt for double-bogey, but the Utah native rebounded with three of his eight birdies on a series of impressive approach shots.

Werenski charged into fourth with a round that included six birdies and was highlighted by an eagle on the fifth after an exceptional 224-yard approach shot left him a four-foot putt.

The 29-year-old Massachusetts native is seeking his second PGA Tour win. After going bogey-free through his first 48 holes at the American Express, he finally missed a 10-foot par putt on the 13th before rallying with two more birdies down the stretch

“I’ve been giving myself plenty of looks and just haven’t been converting them, and today I finally made some [putts],” Werenski said. “So I think we’re kind of turning the corner. I’ve always liked this place. I’ve never finished really, really high here, but I’ve always known that I could play really good. It just fits my eye.”

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Australia’s Cameron Davis had the shot of the day on the 15th, holing out for eagle from 157 yards away from a section of rough below the fairway. Davis finished the third round at 12-under 204 along with Rory Sabbatini, Chase Seiffert, Francesco Molinari and Doug Ghim.

Jessica Korda shoots 60 on LPGA Tour

Jessica Korda plays a shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the Diamond Resorts Tournament Of Champions.
Jessica Korda shot an 11-under 60, just one stroke off the LPGA Tour scoring mark.
(Sam Greenwood / Getty Images)

Danielle Kang played great, tying her career low with an eight-under 63 and protecting her lead in the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Jessica Korda owned the day.

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A sizzling 28 on the back nine — nine under par — at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando lifted Korda to an 11-under 60, just one stroke off the LPGA Tour scoring mark.

Kang was at 21-under 192 through three bogey-free rounds. Her total tied an LPGA mark for raw score through 54 holes (shared by three others) and shattered the tournament’s 54-hole record (200). She will take a two-shot lead over Korda into Sunday in what sets up as a terrific shootout for the LPGA’s season opener:

Kang leads Jessica Korda by two and Nelly Korda (67) by six. South Korea’s In Gee Chun (67) sits fourth, eight shots back.

Darren Clarke gets another PGA Tour Champions win

Darren Clarke won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship by two strokes for his second straight PGA Tour Champions victory, playing the back nine in six under in a closing eight-under 64 in Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii.

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The 52-year-old former British Open winner from Northern Ireland started the back-nine run with birdies on Nos. 10-11, added two more on 13 and 14, made a 10-foot par save on 15, and birdied 16 and 17. He parred the 18th to cap the bogey-free round in the first event of the year.

Clarke finished at 21-under 195 at Hualalai Golf Course. He won the TimberTech Championship in early November in his final tour start last year.

Retief Goosen, tied for the second-round lead with Jerry Kelly, closed with a 64 to finish second. Kelly had a 68 to finish third at 17 under.

The tournament was the first of the year, but the season is a continuation from last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the tour for four months.


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