LOS ANGELES, Feb 26: Veteran American Duffy Waldorf remained on course for a first PGA Tour title in six years with a third round seven-under-par 65 at the Tucson Classic in Arizona.
The 43-year-old Californian yesterday ended a calm day of near-perfect scoring conditions two shots clear of the field on 19-under 197.
One ahead overnight, Waldorf birdied five of the first six holes at the Tucson National Golf Resort and Spa to strengthen his grip on the tournament.
Although he picked up only two more strokes after the turn, he finished a couple of shots ahead of big-hitting Bubba Watson, who carded a matching 65.
First-round leader Mark Wilson was a further shot back in third after a 67, with 2004 champion Heath Slocum alone in fourth at 15 under following his 65.
Waldorf, whose last PGA Tour victory came at the 2000 Disney Classic, was particularly delighted with his approach play.
''My irons are really working for me,'' he told reporters.
''I feel like I can hit every pin.'' Although he has held or shared the 54-hole lead 11 times on the PGA Tour and twice gone on from there to clinch victory, Waldorf knows what a breakthrough on Sunday would mean to him.
''Quite simply, it would get my career back on track,'' he said. ''It's been six long years since the last one.'' Waldorf, whose last top-10 finish on tour was a tie for seventh at the 2004 Lumber Classic, won the 1995 Texas Open and the 1999 Buick Classic after being at the top of the leaderboard after three rounds.
Former winner Gabriel Hjertstedt of Sweden was among a group of four tied for fifth place at 14 under after five birdies and an eagle helped him to a 65.
Britain's Justin Rose, playing his fifth U.S. event of the season, carded a 72 to share 56th place at six under.