Last updated: February 20. 2013 2:54AM - 181 Views

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LA QUINTA, Calif. — Scott Stallings opened a five-stroke lead in the Humana Challenge on Saturday, holing a 20-foot downhill putt on the par-5 eighth hole for his second eagle of the round.


Stallings shot a 9-under 63 to reach 22-under 194 after three days in perfect conditions in the Coachella Valley. He played PGA West's Jack Nicklaus course after opening the pro-am event with a 66 on the Arnold Palmer course — the site of the final round Sunday — and shooting a 65 at La Quinta.


I stayed aggressive, Stallings said. Playing with John (Rollins) was a huge help. He's a good guy and he was an easy guy to club off of. ... We made a lot of birdies the last couple days, and so we kind of fed off each other, and that's definitely what you need to try to do in this format.


Stallings also eagled the par-5 13th — hitting a 6-iron to 8 feet — and had five birdies in his third straight bogey-free round. The 27-year-old former Tennessee Tech player has two PGA Tour victories, winning the 2011 Greenbrier Classic and 2012 True South Classic.


I guess you can say it's conservatively aggressive, Stallings said. Like No. 8, I hit a really good drive and had 8-iron. But just because I had 8-iron to a par 5, I fired it in the middle of the green, had a 20-footer and was happy to make it.


Rollins had a 64 to move into a tied for second with Stewart Cink, Roberto Castro, Charles Howell III and Charley Hoffman.


We both played real well yesterday at La Quinta, Rollins said. We had a good group and the mojo in the group has been positive. It was great to see a lot of good shots, putts going in.


Cink had a 66 on the Nicklaus course.


The weather's just so perfect out there, said Cink, winless since his playoff victory over Tom Watson in the 2009 British Open. There really is no way to improve the conditions that you're playing under out there. It's the very best it could possibly be.




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