HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Charley Hoffman’s quick start gave him a two-shot lead over U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson after three rounds of the RBC Heritage on Saturday.
Hoffman had four birdies on his first five holes to shoot a bogey-free 5-under 66 and keep out front at 11 under on a windy, cool day at Harbour Town Golf Links. Simpson also didn’t make a bogey on the way to a 65, tying the lowest round of the tournament.
Kevin Streelman shot a 69 and was alone in third at 8 under.
The round started with 91 players making the cut, tying the tour high set in 1981 at the Travelers Championship. Jesper Parnevik moved the cut line Saturday morning to 2 over as he missed a 5-footer to complete his rain-delayed second round and opened the door for 21 players to keep playing.
Brendon de Jonge and Graeme McDowell were tied at 7-under par, four shots off the lead. De Jonge shot a 67, and McDowell had a 68.
The last of Hoffman’s two career PGA Tour victories came at the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship. And early on, he threatened to turn the RBC Heritage into a runaway.
He made a 30-footer for birdie at the first to break from a three-way tie with Kevin Streelman and Steve LeBrun, then followed that by getting up and down from about 30 feet on the par-5 second hole. Hoffman was pin high, 12 feet away on the par-3 fourth to move to 9 under and closed his hot start with another up-and-down birdie — this one from 65 feet — on the par-5 fifth.
Hoffman played steadily the rest of the way to maintain his lead — even though he appeared on the verge of cracking several times.
Hoffman saved par from a front bunker on the par-3 seventh hole, then punched a shot between two trees no more than 5 feet apart to make another par on the eighth hole.
Hoffman chipped to 2 feet for another par on the 11th. He rolled in a 12-foot par putt on the next hole to stay out front during Simpson’s charge.
Hoffman’s final birdie — on the par-5 15th — gave him the two-stroke edge. He made a testy, 12-footer to save par one last time at the famed lighthouse hole, No. 18.
Simpson started three shots out of the lead, birdied three of his first six holes. Two more birdies on the 10th and 11th holes moved him within two shots of Hoffman. Simpson’s 15-foot birdie putt on the 15th — Simpson made birdie on all three of Harbour Town’s par 5s — drew him closer still. Simpson’s 65 matched the lowest round of the tournament, accomplished Thursday by Brian Davis.
Rookie Toledo takes lead in Greater Gwinnett
DULUTH, Ga. — Esteban Toledo, a rookie looking for his first win on the Champions Tour, has a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Greater Gwinnett Championship.
Toledo, from Mexicali, Mexico, completed his first-round 68 early Saturday before shooting a 2-under 70 in the second round. Bernhard Langer had 66 that left him in a four-way tie for second.
Langer is tied with Roger Chapman, Tom Pernice Jr. and Mark Calcavecchia.
Michael Allen took the first-round lead by completing a 67 early Saturday. He lost the lead in the second round when he called a two-stroke penalty on himself for removing an embedded pine cone on No. 4.
Allen added another double bogey on No. 5 before recovering for a 73 that left him 4 under and two strokes behind the leader.