DORAL, Fla. (AP) - Bubba Watson hit one shot over the green and off the tower. Another shot hit a fan in the gallery. As wild as it looked at time, he never lost control of his game and he never lost the lead Saturday in the Cadillac Championship.
Watson raced off to an eagle-birdie start, then survived a few errant shots coming home on the Blue Monster for a 5-under 67, giving him a three-shot lead and putting him on the verge of his first World Golf Championship.
"All in all, it was a great day," he said.
His optimism was tempered not so much by the few guys chasing him, rather a golf course that for Watson remains an acquired taste.
"The challenge is the Blue Monster," Watson said.
It was more of a pushover in moderate wind, with Rory McIlroy thinking about a 59 with six holes to play, Tiger Woods making an early charge up the leaderboard and a dozen players signing for a 67 or better.
Watson was at 17-under 199.
He will play in the final group Sunday with PGA champion Keegan Bradley, who had a bogey-free 66 and was at 14-under 202. Justin Rose was tied for the lead through 11 holes until Watson found his groove and Rose made too many mistakes. Rose three-putted from long range on the 18th for a 69, leaving him tied with Bradley but no longer in the final group.
Only one other player was within five shots of the lead. Peter Hanson of Sweden nearly holed a bunker shot on the 18th hole and shot 69, leaving him at 12-under 204.
Matt Kuchar (66) and Zach Johnson (67) were another shot behind.
McIlroy played the last six holes in 2 over and still shot 65, while Woods failed to do much after his birdie-birdie-birdie start. He twice made bogey on the par 5s and shot 68. They were eight shots behind.
PUERTO RICO OPEN
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) - George McNeill shot a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead over Henrik Stenson and Kevin Stadler into the final round of the Puerto Rico Open.
McNeill, at 13-under 203, is trying to win for the first time since the Frys.com Open in 2007 when he was a PGA Tour rookie. He eagled the par-5 fifth, dropped strokes with three-putt bogeys on No. 7 and 8, then birdied five of the last 10 holes on the Trump International layout.
Stenson had a 65, and Stadler shot a 66.
Second-round leader Matt Jones was two strokes back at 11 under after a 72.
Ryo Ishikawa, in Puerto Rico because he failed to qualify for the World Golf Championship this week at Doral, shot a 69 and will go into the final round just three shots out of the lead. Ishikawa has never finished higher than a tie for fourth on the PGA Tour. He is trying to become the fifth straight player in his 20s to win on the PGA Tour. Scott Brown (65) and Daniel Summerhays (68) matched Ishikawa at 10 under.