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Curtis stumbles but stays on top in Texas

Ben Curtis, seeking his first PGA Tour victory since 2006, is up by three at the Texas Open despite two Round 3 double bogeys.

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Ben Curtis, seeking his first PGA Tour victory since 2006, is up by three at the Texas Open despite two Round 3 double bogeys.

SAN ANTONIO — Ben Curtis entered today still ahead at the Texas Open, one round from his first PGA Tour victory since 2006 in what has been his most humbling year as a pro.

But a pack of mostly non-winners could make redemption difficult.

Curtis finally made his first stumbles at the Texas Open — once holding up a group playing six holes back when hacking the ball into the neighboring fairway was his only escape from under a tree — but his 1-over 73 was enough to stay atop the leaderboard at 9-under 207 Saturday.

Matt Every was grateful to end a long day in the same position where he started: three strokes behind the 2003 British Open champion. Every shot 73 after waking early to finish his suspended second round, but it's his course-record 63 from Thursday that still has him in contention.

John Huh (67), Seung-Yui Noh (68) and Charlie Wi (71) were five strokes back.

Aside from Huh, no one within five strokes of Curtis has won on the tour. Despite six years passing since his last victory, Curtis said he knows how to handle the final round: Simply worry about himself.

"In the past when I've played in these circumstances, that's what I did: I just focused on my game, and if at the end of 18 holes it's good enough to win, great," Curtis said. "If not, I have to shake the guy's hand that won and move forward."

The Texas Open is only the fourth PGA Tour stop this year for Curtis, whose tournament invitations are no longer a sure thing after his status plummeted near the bottom rungs.

Curtis preserved his lead despite two double bogeys, including a wayward drive on the par-5 8th that left him hitting twice from the adjacent fairway. Curtis said he and his caddie decided there was no other choice after his tee shot veered left and landed under a mesquite tree, surrounded by cactus and with no clear path back toward the hole.

"We were joking that we were on the second hole for 50 minutes," Curtis said.

LPGA: Japan's Ai Miyazato won the Lotte Championship for her eighth career tour title, birdieing three of the last six holes for 2-under 70 and a four-stroke victory in Kapolei, Hawaii.

Miyazato finished at 12-under 276 at wind-swept Ko Olina. She opened with rounds of 71, 65 and 70 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round.

Meena Lee, tied for the lead after a birdie on No. 15, had 70 to tie for second with Azahara Munoz at 8 under. Munoz finished with 70.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot 74 to finish tied for 27th at par 288.

CHAMPIONS: David Frost and Michael Allen birdied nine of the first 13 holes and combined for 9-under 63 for a share of the second-round lead with Tom Purtzer and Brad Bryant in the Legends of Golf in Savannah, Ga. The teams were at 19-under 125 in the better-ball event. Bryant and Allen had 65 at the Club at Savannah Harbor.

Curtis stumbles but stays on top in Texas 04/21/12 [Last modified: Saturday, April 21, 2012 10:10pm]
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