Golf roundup

John Mallinger in position for first PGA victory

John Mallinger escapes a bunker on No. 3, part of a third-round 70 that gave him a two-shot lead at the Open.
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John Mallinger escapes a bunker on No. 3, part of a third-round 70 that gave him a two-shot lead at the Open.

John Mallinger remained in position for his first PGA Tour victory, shooting a 1-under-par 70 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Open in San Martin, Calif.

The 33-year-old Mallinger had a 15-under 198 total after opening with a 66 and matching the course record with a 62 on Friday.

‘‘I just didn’t have it all. I didn’t drive it as well as I did [Friday],’’ Mallinger said. ‘‘I think I hit every fairway yesterday, and then today I just got off to a weird start. But I hung around there and made some birdies on the back nine that got me back into position.’’


He has finished second twice in his seven-year career on the tour, losing in a playoff to Bo Van Pelt in Milwaukee in 2009. Mallinger had the third-round lead for the second time in his career. He shared the lead at the 2009 Byron Nelson Championship and ended up tying for sixth.

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‘‘I'm going to still stay aggressive and try to make as many birdies as possible,’’ Mallinger said. ‘‘It’s going to be a birdie day. I mean, it’s supposed to be nice tomorrow.’’

Jonas Blixt was second after a 66. He birdied five of the last eight holes.

‘‘The front nine is a little harder,’’ said Blixt, coming off a third-place finish last week in Las Vegas. ‘‘The back nine you can make a couple birdies. Hopefully, I can finish like I did today.

Charles Howell III (66) and Jason Kokrak (67) were 12 under.


Vijay Singh and Alexandre Rocha both shot 66 and were at 11 under. The 49-year-old Singh won the last of his 34 PGA Tour titles in 2008. He birdied Nos. 15 and 16, eagled the short par-4 17th, and closed with a par.

British Open champion Ernie Els was 5 under after a 69.
— Defending champion Na-yeon Choi of South Korea posted a 3-under 68 to maintain a two-shot lead after the rain-interrupted third round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

Choi birdied the first hole before rain halted play for more than four hours. She finished with four birdies and a bogey on the 10th hole for a 13-under total of 200.

Fellow South Korean Park Inbee is two shots back after putting up the day’s best score of 65, while Karrie Webb of Australia is another two shots back after a 68.

‘‘I think I had a pretty hard time today,’’ Choi said. ‘‘It was raining all day. That’s why I play so long. We wake up like 12 hours ago and that’s a pretty long day.’’


Suzann Pettersen of Norway, who produced a 7-under 64 on Friday, shot a 70 in the third round and was tied for fourth with Ai Miyazato of Japan at 8 under.

Champions — Fred Funk took a one-stroke lead over Larry Mize in the Greater Hickory Classic in Conover, N.C., shooting his second straight bogey-free 6-under 66.

The winner at The Woodlands in Texas in May for his seventh Champions Tour title, Funk has gone 42 holes without a bogey since the 13th hole Sunday in the final round of the SAS Championship in Cary, N.C.

He also extended his run of bogey-free holes at Rock Barn to 66, beginning with the seventh hole of the second round of last year’s tournament.

Funk had six birdies Saturday, but spent most of the day tied with Mize for the lead until draining a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

The 54-year-old Mize, a former Masters champion whose lone Champions Tour win came in 2010 in the Montreal Championship, shot a 67.

European — Bernd Wiesberger of Austria birdied six of seven holes in one stretch, finishing with a 6-under 65 for a one-stroke lead after three rounds at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura.

Wiesberger, who started his birdie run at No. 8, was at 13-under 200. He was followed by England’s Ross Fisher, who began the day in the lead and finished with a 69.

Senior PGA — Jim Woodward shot a 6-under 66 in Aldie, Va., to match the competitive course record at Creighton Farms and take the third-round lead in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship.

The 55-year-old Woodward, the PGA teaching professional at Oak Tree in Edmond, Okla., had a 2-under 214 total for a two-stroke lead over Mike Lawrence and Bob Gaus.

The top 35 after the final round Sunday will earn spots in the Senior PGA Championship in May at Bellerive in St. Louis.

The top five will get exemptions into the final stage of the Champions Tour qualifying tournament.