Bill Haas had another bogey-free round at Riviera for a 7-under-par 64 — Saturday’s best round by three shots — and took a three-stroke lead going into the final round of the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles.
On a warm afternoon off Sunset Boulevard that made the greens even faster, Haas turned in a remarkable score. The key was a seven-hole stretch in the middle of his round that he played in 6 under, including a 60-foot pitch that dropped for eagle on the scary par-4 10th hole.
He was at 12-under 201 and will try to become only the eighth back-to-back winner in the tournament’s 76-year history.
Most impressive is that Haas has gone 40 consecutive holes without a bogey. The last one he made was Thursday when he missed a 4-foot putt.
But all he cares about Sunday is winning.
‘‘It’s very difficult in this game to just pull away from the rest of the field,’’ Haas said. ‘‘You’ve only seen a few guys ever really do that, and those are guys like Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson. So I think I’ve just got to stay in the moment, don’t let my emotions get the best of me.’’
A year ago, Haas was two shots behind going into the final round and wound up winning in a playoff over Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. This time, he has a comfortable margin over US Open champion Webb Simpson and former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who each thought they did well with 68.
John Merrick bogeyed the 18th hole for a 70 and joined Simpson and Schwartzel at 9-under 204.
Luke Donald overcame a sloppy start — three bogeys in a six-hole stretch — with four birdies on the back nine to salvage a 70 that put him four shots behind, along with Fredrik Jacobson (72).
Sang-Moon Bae, who shared the 36-hole lead with Jacobson, took double bogey on the 17th hole and had a 76 to fall eight shots behind.
LPGA — Jiyai Shin of South Korea and 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko both shot rounds of 3-under 70 to surge six shots clear of the field heading into the final day of the Women’s Australian Open in Canberra.
Ko, who was born in South Korea and is based in New Zealand, jumped to an early lead with birdies on the second, fourth, and sixth holes. She allowed Shin to retake a share of the lead with bogeys on No. 12 and 14 before making another birdie on the final hole to finish 17-under 202.
Shin, a two-time British Open winner, kept pace, making an eagle out of the greenside bunker on the par-5 sixth, but gave up a chance of an outright lead when she had a bogey on the penultimate hole.
Ko said she was looking forward to the challenge of going head-to-head with Shin in the final round.
‘‘I’ve seen her play before at the Canadian Open and then on TV,’’ said Ko. ‘‘She’s a pretty accurate player off the tee, so in that way we could be pretty similar. She’s a great player and there are things that I do need to learn from her.’’
Shin said the leading pair realistically have to worry only about each other, though the low scoring of the opening three rounds means a late challenger cannot be ruled out.
‘‘This makes it comfortable for us because we just focus — I just focus about her score and she also just kept looking at my score,’’ Shin said.
Beatriz Recari of Spain had a 71 to stand third.
Champions — Bernhard Langer shot a 2-under 70 to take a three-shot lead after the second round of the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla.
Langer, who had a 10-under 62 in the first round, picked up where he left off with a birdie on his first hole. He made 11 straight pars after that, birdied No. 13, and had a par on the last five holes in windy conditions. He was at 12-under 132.
Taiwan’s Chien Soon Lu and Tom Pernice Jr., who was runner-up last week in Boca Raton, Fla., were tied for second at 9-under 135.