Goosen still on top with proven champs lurking

Third Round –PGA Tour – Northern Trust Open – Riviera Country Club – Pacific Palisades, California –

Retief Goosen battled Saturday against the game’s recent major champions, upstart young players and Father Time. In the end, he continues to lead the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open with 18 holes to play at Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles.

Goosen, the 46-year-old veteran from South Africa, needed just 22 putts in round three showing a stark short game and seller putting stroke. He is 8-under through 54 holes.

The two-time U.S. Open champion managed six birdies and withstood a stretch of four bogeys during one six-hole stretch. His birdies at the 16th and 17th hole earned him a two-shot lead over Canada’s Graham DeLaet, who is looking for his first PGA Tour title.

Three players – including World No. 7 Sergio Garcia – are 5-under and three back. Sang Moon Bae reached 5-under with his 66 at Riviera Saturday. Bae won the season opener last October at the Open. Both are tied alongside J.B. Holmes, who was runner-up to Jason Day at Torrey Pines two weeks ago.

Hall of Fame member Vijay Singh, 51, worked his way back into the mix with a 69 Saturday. He is part of a large group of proven champions at T-7 and 4-under. The group including defending champion Bubba Watson, major champions Angel Cabrera and Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Ryan Moore and Jordan Spieth.

Look for someone at T-7 to make an early move Sunday to pressure the final group.

Other Golf news:

  • Bill Haas, who missed the cut at Riviera, was tops on the PGA Tour last season in Sand Saves at 62 percent. The tour average was nearly 50 percent. Haas won the Humana Challenge last month in the California desert.
  • Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn are set to tee off in the final pairing at the LPGA Tour’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Both teenagers are 7-under overall. Ariya is just 19 years old, while Ko is 17 and the Rolex Ranking World No. 1 player.
  • While Bubba is the overall betting favorite at Riviera at 10-to-1 odds, according to Johnson was 11-1, while Spieth was 12-1. Bae and Moore were listed at 66-1 heading into the week, while Goosen (220th in the world ranking) was better than a 220-1 long shot.