San Antonio – Zach Johnson birdied the par-5 18th Saturday at the Valero Texas Open for a share of the third-round lead with Andrew Landry, a stroke ahead of record-setting Trey Mullinax.
Johnson shot a 4-under 68, holing a 10-footer on 18 to match Landry at 13-under 203 at TPC San Antonio’s AT&T Oaks. Landry birdied the 16th and 17th in a 67.
Johnson won the event in 2008 and 2009, the last two times it was played at LaCantera. The 42-year-old Iowan is trying to win for the first time since the 2015 British Open.
“I’ve got 18 holes to get to that point,” Johnson said. “I’ve got to do exactly what I did on the back side and that was give myself opportunities on every hole. I’m putting great, I’m seeing the lines well, my caddie’s reading the greens well, so it’s just a matter of committing and executing down the stretch.”
The 30-year-old Landry is winless on the tour.
“I’m a good putter and I just need to give myself a lot of opportunities tomorrow like I did today,” Landry said. “I’ll be looking forward to tomorrow.”
Mullinax had a course-record 62. He played the back nine in 7-under 29, going 6 under on the last five with eagles on the par-5 14th and 18th and birdies on 16 and 17. He also birdied Nos. 10 and 12 and bogeyed 11.
“It’s probably one of the best rounds I’ve ever had,” Mullinax said. “To go out there and shoot 62 on a hard golf course is really good.”
Johnson played the front nine in even par with two birdies and two bogeys. He birdied Nos. 11, 14, 15 and 18 on the back nine.
“Different wind today early on, misjudged some numbers, misjudged some wind, made some bad swings, all of the above,” Johnson said. “But truthfully, my short game was actually pretty good, my putting was great. I missed some putts, but I hit some really good ones, hit some lines and I gave myself opportunities especially on the back side.”
Landry had a bogey-free round.
“I just did everything really good,” Landry said. “I was staying patient and just trying to make a bunch of pars. This golf course can come up and bite you in a heartbeat.”
Ryan Moore was two strokes back at 11 under after a 70. Sean O’Hair had a 65 to join 2015 champion Jimmy Walker (67), Chris Kirk (68) and 2013 winner Martin Laird (69) at 9 under.
Brian Stuard (Jackson) finished tied for 51st after finishing 75.
“I just feel like I’m getting closer and closer to playing better and better golf, more solid golf, putting rounds together,” Walker said. “I’m excited for the opportunity tomorrow.”
Mullinax has made 42 of 44 putts from inside 10 feet this week.
“They just kind of remind me of greens from home,” Mullinax said. “My caddie, David (Flynn), has been reading them really well. We trusted each other on our reads and I’ve been hitting good putts. Been working hard on putting on the weeks off that I’ve had so it’s good to see some results.”
The 25-year-old former Alabama player chipped in for the eagle on 14 and the birdie on the par-3 16th.
“It was just a little bit down the hill,” he said about the 16th. “All you had to do was just land it just past that little light grass spot. My caddie told me just read it like a putt, so I tried to just read it like a putt and it went in.”
On 18, he hit a 3-iron from 255 yards to 15 feet to set up his eagle putt. He broke the course record of 63 set by Matt Every in 201 and matched by Laird in 2013. The tournament record is 60 at LaCantera, by Bart Bryant in 2004 and Johnson in 2009.
Winless Moriya Jutanugarn overcame a poor start and birdied the 18th for a hard-earned 1-under 70 to tie rookie Jin Young Ko at 9 under at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open at Wilshire Country Club.
Ko shot a 66 in her bid to become the year’s first two-time winner on the LPGA Tour. She won the Women’s Australian Open in February, her first victory as an official tour member after a successful run on the Korean LPGA circuit.
“I’m ready for win or top 10, so maybe tomorrow I will really focus on shot by shot,” said Ko, who added an exclamation point to her golf bag for each of her wins on the KLPGA. “I won 11 times, so if I win tomorrow, maybe I change to 12. I need more, I need every time motivation.”
Jutanugarn is trying to match younger sister Ariya as a tour champion. Seven-time winner Ariya was tied for 27th after a 72 in the third round.
Usually when one of the Thai sisters is in the lead, the other will watch when her round is finished.
“If she’s not too lazy, she is probably going to come out,” Moriya said about Ariya.
Playing in an all-Korean threesome, Hall of Famer Inbee Park was two shots back in third after a 69. Her birdie putt for a share of the lead on 18 slid just by the hole. The group drew a large contingent of Korean fans.
Playing two groups ahead of Jutanugarn, Caroline Inglis also eagled the 14th from 180 yards. She briefly jumped up and down and smiled after three bogeys and a double bogey. She shot a 69 and was four shots back in a tie for sixth with Minjee Lee.
“It was like one bounce and then it like trickled in,” Inglis said.
Aditi Ashok eagled 14 early in the round.
Ko did some scrambling of her own. Her ball found a sandy hazard on the 17th with a scoreboard and a winding creek in between her and the green 190 yards away. Her approach landed just off the green and she made par. Her round included six birdies and a bogey on 16.
Eun-Hee Ji (70) and American Marina Alex (72) were tied for fourth at 6 under.
Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco took the third-round lead in the windy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.
Singh and Franco shot a 7-under 47 in wind gusting to 20 mph on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to get to 19-under 145, a stroke ahead of the teams of David Toms-Steve Flesch and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett.
Toms and Flesch also shot 47, and Broadhurst and Triplett had a 33 on the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course.
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