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Saturday’s roundup: Matsuyama keeps 3-shot lead at HSBC Champions

Associated Press
Hideki Matsuyama completes his third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions on Saturday.

Shanghai — Hideki Matsuyama left the highlights to everyone else Saturday at the World Golf Championships HSBC Champions.

All he cared about was keeping the lead.

In a third round that was dull by the standard Matsuyama had set for himself in making 19 birdies the opening two days at Sheshan International, the Japanese star picked up three of his birdies on the par 5s and rarely got out of position. Bogey-free for the first time all week, he was more than satisfied with a 4-under 68 to keep his three-shot lead going into the final round.

“The first two days, making lots of birdies, it’s a lot of fun,” said Matsuyama, who is at 17-under 199. “But today, when you’re in a position to win, playing smart and making no bogeys was very satisfying for me.”

Even more satisfying was that only four players were within five shots of his lead.

One of them was defending champion Russell Knox, who had far too much excitement in the middle of the back nine that kept his round together. Knox sandwiched birdies on a pair of tough par 4s around a par on one the third-easiest hole on the course, the par-5 14th. He hit into the water and was headed for a bogey when he made a long putt that kept his momentum and sent him to a 68 to stay three shots behind.

“After hitting in the water on 14, to make a massive putt for par was huge,” Knox said. “Those little moments are what add up in a tournament. Could have been a lot worse.”

Daniel Berger was another shot behind after quite the adventure over his final hour.

Berger ran off four straight birdies to get within two shots before taking bogey on the par-3 17th. Then he chose to go for the green on the par-5 closing hole, only to block it right into the water. He took his penalty drop, hit a full wedge into 5 feet and escaped with a par for a 67.

PGA Tour

Chris Kirk and Luke List each shot 7-under 65 on Saturday to share the third-round lead in the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi.

Kirk and List were at 14-under at the Country Club of Jackson.

Cody Gribble (67), Canada’s Graham DeLaet (68), and 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover (68) were a stroke back.

Second-round leader Grayson Murray had a 72 to drop two shots behind. He missed several short putts and had a double bogey on the shortest par-4 on the course.

Kirk, the highest-ranked player in the field at 76th, had eight birdies and a bogey.

LPGA Tour

Shanshan Feng birdied four of her final six holes after a long lightning delay to top the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia leaderboard when darkness suspended play.

The 27-year-old Chinese player had a one-stroke lead over fellow major champion Anna Nordqvist of Sweden. Feng was 7 under for the day and 13 under overall on the 18th tee when play was stopped at TPC Kuala Lumpur. Nordqvist was on the par-5 16th.

Play was delayed for 4 hours, 39 minutes by the lightning and periods of heavy rain, leaving only 90 minutes of light left when the action resumed.

Lightning and rain also suspended play Friday afternoon.

Champions

At Thousand Oaks, California, Tom Pernice Jr. had four straight birdies and shot an 8-under 64 for a share of the PowerShares QQQ Championship lead with Brandt Jobe.

Jobe had a 66 to match Pernice at 11-under 133 at Sherwood in the PGA Tour Champions’ playoff opener.

Pernice began the run on the par-5 11th and birdied the par-3 12th, par-5 13th and par-4 14th. The four-time tour winner birdied another par 5 on 16 and closed with two pars.

Jobe had eight birdies and two bogeys.

First-round leader Colin Montgomerie (69) was a stroke back along with Rocco Mediate (65) and Olin Browne (66). Mediate played alongside Pernice, and matched him with birdies on Nos. 11-14.

Fred Couples was tied for 22nd at 4 under after a 72 in in his first tournament in eight months. The 57-year-old Couples was sidelined by a chronic back injury.