Kim, Molder lead after 3 rounds in Houston
HUMBLE, Texas (AP) -Anthony Kim and Bryce Molder are tied for the lead heading into the final round of the Houston Open, the final event before the Masters.
Kim struggled off the tee on Saturday, but relied on good putting to shoot a 3-under 69 that left him 10 under for the tournament. Molder, the second-round leader, made four bogeys and five birdies for a 71.
Vaughn Taylor (70) and Joe Ogilvie (71) were two back at 8 under after both bogeyed the difficult 18th hole. Houston resident Jeff Maggert (70), Graham DeLaet (71) and Lee Westwood (72) were three strokes behind the leaders.
The players faced only light breezes after winds gusted up to 30 mph during the first two rounds.
Justin Leonard (67) moved into contention in the morning with two eagles on his front nine. He made a double bogey on the 14th hole, though, and dropped into the logjam at 6-under.
Kim missed 11 of 14 fairways off the tee, but scrambled out of trouble all day. He badly pulled a 300-yard drive on the par-4 12th hole, then flopped a wedge from an awkward stance to within a foot with a pond lurking on the other side of the green.
``I told my caddie, 'If I don't hit this perfectly, it's going to go 50 yards in the water,''' Kim said.
He hooked another tee shot on the 17th hole, then hit his approach out of the rough to three feet. Kim saved par from behind the green at No. 18, chipping down the hill and sinking an 8-footer.
``There were some spots today, I don't know how I got out,'' he said. ``But I was happy to go ahead and hit some lucky shots and good shots, and get away with it.''
Kim finished second to Camilo Villegas at the Honda Classic, one of three top-25 finishes this year. But he hasn't held or shared the third-round lead since last year's Canadian Open, when he finished third.
``I've got enough bad breaks this year, where I feel they're going to turn around if I have a good attitude,'' Kim said. ``I've had a good attitude this whole year. Some breaks are going to come my way and if they do, I'll welcome those.''
Molder hit his share of bad tee shots, too, after a solid 66 on Friday. He made three bogeys on the front nine, then birdied two of the first three holes on the back.
He dunked his tee shot in the water on 18, then hit a 6-iron to 14 feet and made the putt for an unexpected par. Molder had seven 1-putt greens on the back nine.
``Luckily, my putter kind of held me in there,'' Molder said. ``I always kind of know that if I can just kind of get it going the direction I want it to go, then I'm usually going to be OK.''
Molder, a Georgia Tech graduate, is winless in 88 career PGA Tour starts. He got to play Augusta National once a year when he was in college, but has never played there as a professional.
He'll earn a spot in the Masters with his first victory, but said he's not thinking about what will be on the line for him on Sunday.
``I'd be lying if I said it wasn't in the back of my mind, and wouldn't be just a huge thrill,'' Molder said. ``But that's a lot of steps away.''
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