DORAL — Bubba Watson hit one shot over the green and off the tower. Another shot hit a fan in the gallery. But as wild as he looked at times, he never lost control of his game, and he never lost the lead Saturday in the Cadillac Championship.
Watson had an eagle-birdie start, then survived a few errant shots coming home on Doral's Blue Monster for 5-under 67 and a three-shot lead.
"All in all, it was a great day," said Watson, who was at 17-under 199 in the World Golf Championships event.
His optimism was tempered not so much by the few chasing him but by a course that remains an acquired taste for him.
"Obviously, I'm learning how to play it. The golf course is very difficult," Watson said.
It was more of a pushover in moderate wind Saturday, with Rory McIlroy thinking about 59 with six holes to play, Tiger Woods making an early charge up the leaderboard and a dozen players signing for 67 or better.
Keegan Bradley had a bogey-free 66 and was tied for second with Justin Rose (69). Only one other player was within five shots of the lead, Peter Hanson at 12-under 204 after 69.
McIlroy played the last six holes in 2 over and still shot 65 to sit eight shots back. And he was disappointed.
"I never thought I would stand up here and say I'm disappointed with 7 under, but (Saturday) is definitely one of those days," he said. "It's a resort golf course, and it was a tough test 15 years ago, but now it's just outdated."
Woods failed to do much after his birdie-birdie-birdie start. He twice made bogey on the par 5s and shot 68 to also sit eight shots back.
His par 5s have been feast or famine, he said: "It's either I'm making birdies or I'm making bogeys, or eagles."
PGA: Former Seminole George McNeill shot 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead over Henrik Stenson (65) and Kevin Stadler (66) into the final round of the Puerto Rico Open at Rio Grande. McNeill, at 13-under 203, is trying to win for the first time since the Frys.com Open in 2007 when he was a rookie. Second-round leader Matt Jones (72) was two strokes back.