Graham DeLaet 1 shot back at Valspar Championship
Bill Haas holds lead heading into Sunday's final round
Bill Haas took a swing tip from his father on Tuesday and converted into a 54-hole lead at the Valspar Championship.
Haas atoned for a three-putt bogey on the 13th by chipping in for birdie from behind the 15th green on his way to a 4-under 67 on Saturday at Innisbrook, giving him a one-shot lead over Graham DeLaet of Canada going into the final round.
Jay Haas, a nine-time PGA Tour winner and the Presidents Cup captain the last two times, had a week off from the PGA Tour Champions and spent three days with his son. It was on the par-5 fifth hole during a practice round that the father suggested Haas use a more abbreviated follow on his swing to get his hands moving fasters.
It seems to have worked.
On a Copperhead course that has yet to yield a round lower than 66, Haas put together his second straight 67 to reach 8-under 205.
DeLaet, now sporting a beard that would make Old Tom Morris proud, pounded a shot out of the rough and over the water to 3 feet on the par-5 14th for an eagle that shot him up the leaderboard, and he finished with a 68 to get into the last group.
It's still up in the grabs on Sunday because of the nature of Innisbrook, which takes shots away more often than it gives up birdies. Six players were within four shots of the lead, and even Jordan Spieth believes he is still in the mix.
Spieth, who opened his title defence with a 76, made the cut with one shot to spare on Friday and moved into a tie for ninth on Saturday with a bogey-free 67 in which he holed a long eagle putt and made a pair of key par saves coming in.
"To think after the first round that I go Saturday night be able to sleep with a chance to win the golf tournament, I'm very pleased with that," Spieth said.
Charley Hoffman (67) and Ryan Moore (69) were three shots behind.
Steve Stricker, who shared the 36-hole lead with Will MacKenzie, didn't make another birdie after the fifth hole and had to settle for a 72. He also was 4-under 209, along with Patrick Reed (68), whom Spieth beat in a playoff last year at Innisbrook.
Spieth is the defending champion.
The field will be chasing Haas, who is coming off a big moment in his career last October when he won the decisive point in the Presidents Cup with his father as captain. It hasn't carried over, at least not yet. Haas has a pair of top 10s this year, though he has not seriously contended.
"Half of it is these guys are really good," Haas said. "I'm trying to beat some really good players and they're beating me right now. I just haven't been sharp. When the Presidents Cup was won, being in the last match and handling some pressure, that was a great stepping stone for me. Hopefully, it will lead to better things. But I've still got to play well tomorrow."