Shoot-out expected Sunday at Humana Challenge

Third Round –PGA Tour – Humana Challenge –PGA West Palmer Private – La Quinta, California –

Matt Kuchar failed to separate himself from the chasers Saturday in round three of the PGA Tour’s Humana Challenge.

Kuchar, who made three late bogeys, let his lead slip away finding water on his final two holes. He shot 71 and fell out of the lead.

As a result, a host of players are tied for the lead at 17-under overall including 2010 champion Bill Haas, Erik Compton, Justin Thomas and Michael Putnam.

Kuchar, 11th in the Official World Golf Ranking, entered the week as an 18-to-1 betting pick at — second to defending champion Patrick Reed. Thomas (50-1) and Compton (200-1) are among the long shots with a shot to cash in Sunday.

Nearly two dozen players are within four shots of the lead, meaning a final-round 60 or 61 could do the trick for a player to win outright. A playoff could certainly be in the cards as the Saturday cut will send the remaining players to PGA West Stadium Course for the final 18 holes.

Ryan Palmer (shot 68 and sits 16-under just a shot back) struggled with his putter in trying to back up his second-round 61. He is still in the running with a low final-round effort. He finished runner-up to Reed here a year ago.

If calmer conditions prevail, expect low scores to rule the final round with players taking extra risky chances to shoot in the low 60s. Temperatures are expected to be right around 80 degrees.

Haas, a former FedEx Cup champion, is a serious threat to win it. He was T-6 last year and runner-up in 2011 following his victory in 2010. He was a 28-1 betting selection before the first tee shot Thursday in the Coachella Valley.

For Kuchar, he has been questionable at closing out tournaments in the past. Watch him early to judge his mo-jo. Last week at the Sony Open, he was two back to start the final round and failed to mount a charge.

Other Golf news:

• Kirk Triplett is 8-under through 12 holes at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Kona, Hawaii to assume a one-shot lead at the moment. Overnight leader Rocco Mediate (6-under-66 in round one) has yet to tee off in round two. He is now a shot back in the Champions Tour 2015 season opener.

Branden Grace (19-under) captured his sixth career European Tour title winning the CommericalBank Qatar Masters. Grace outlasted Marc Warren by a shot and Bernd Wiesberger by two. Grace used a back-nine 31 to close out the victory. He was a 20-1 betting pick heading into the event.

• Phil Mickelson made five birdies on his front nine Saturday in La Quinta, But, he was sloppy on the homeward nine making three bogeys. He is just outside the Top 25 heading into the final round of his 2015 debut.

• Grace, who has two wins in five events on the European Tour to start the season, finished up last season 31st in the Race to Dubai standings. He closed out the DP World Tour Championship with a T-9 effort. Heading into this season, he was listed at 50-1 to capture the season-long Race to Dubai.