Horschel holds on at 10 under for Texas Open lead

Horschel holds on at 10 under for Texas Open lead

Credit: Getty Images

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 06: Billy Horschel hits his second shot on the 14th hole during the third round of the Valero Texas Open held at the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio on April 6, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.

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by KURT VOIGT / The Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on April 6, 2013 at 6:43 PM

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Billy Horschel overcame the strong Texas wind and is one round away from his first PGA Tour win.

Horschel held off an experienced leaderboard Saturday to shoot 2-under 70 and take a two-shot lead entering the final round of the Texas Open.

Horschel, who also held the lead after the second round, battled through the gusting San Antonio wind to reach 10 under overall—two shots ahead of Jim Furyk and Charley Hoffman.

The Florida native was second at last week’s Houston Open and extended his PGA Tour-best streak of consecutive made cuts to 21 this week.

Rory McIlroy shot a 1-under 71 and is four shots back. McIlroy tied for the low round on Friday with a 67, but he was inconsistent off the tee on Saturday and had four birdies and three bogeys.

Furyk, playing the course for the first time this week—and after rain limited his practice round to four holes on Wednesday—birdied No. 18 to cap a 3-under effort for the day and to reach Sunday’s final pairing. Ryan Palmer had the low round of the day, posting a 4-under 68.

Furyk, McIlroy and Padraig Harrington, all former major winners, are each within five shots of the lead.

McIlroy hit just 7 of 14 fairways for the second time in the tournament, continuing his trend of up-and-down play this year after an offseason equipment change.

The two-time major winner, who lost the top ranking to Tiger Woods earlier this year, only signed up for the tournament late last week—in search of as many competitive rounds as possible entering next week’s Masters.

He opened with two birdies over his first three holes on Saturday, climbing to 7 under and within a shot of Horschel, who had yet to tee off.

However, he fell back to 4 under with bogeys on Nos. 4, 10 and 11 before closing with birdies on Nos. 12 and 14 to stay in contention entering the final round.

Horschel, meanwhile, had a similar up-and-down day as the weather warmed up and the strong south Texas wind picked up for the first time in the tournament. He made five birdies, reaching as low as 11 under after a confident 6-foot birdie putt on No. 14 -- one of only 23 putts he needed in the round.

Hoffman, playing in the final pairing with Horschel, briefly took the lead after a birdie on No. 8.

The two-time winner on tour went to 9 under after reaching the par 5 in two, and Horschel followed with a bogey for a two-shot swing that sent Friday’s leader to 8 under.

It didn’t take Horschel—in search of his first PGA Tour win—long to regain the lead for good, with another two-shot swing on the next hole. The 26-year-old, who split his time between the PGA and Web.com tours last year, finished 147th on PGA money list last year. He earned his tour card with a fourth-place finish at Q-school, and he last missed a cut at the Byron Nelson last May.

Horschel has had a third-place finish at the True South Classic last June since then, and he closed with a final-round 66 last week to finish second to D.A. Points at the Houston Open.

His consistent play continued through the first two rounds at the Greg Norman-designed Oaks Course at TPC this week, posting 4-under 68s each day.

Saturday’s round wasn’t quite as efficient as the gusty wind on the 7,435-yard layout took its toll, but it was enough to put Horschel well within reach of his first PGA Tour win.

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