Tour Tracker: Stallings builds big lead at Humana

Scott Stallings hits off the 17th tee during the third round of the Humana Challenge golf tournament on the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in La Quinta, Calif.

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LA QUINTA, Calif. – Scott Stallings is in the driver's seat heading into the final round of the Humana Challenge.

Stallings shot 9-under 63 on Saturday to move to 22 under and will enter Sunday with a five-shot lead over Stewart Cink, Charles Howell III, John Rollins, Charley Hoffman and Roberto Castro, who entered the day with a share of the lead.

Stallings has yet to make a bogey in 54 holes. And with plenty of birdies opportunities out there when players converge on the Palmer course at PGA West for the final round, Stallings has a nice cushion.

"There's a lot things going good right now," said Stallings, who withdrew from this event last year due to torn cartilage in five ribs. It was his first time in his career that he had withdrawn from a tournament.

"I gotta keep the pedal down the whole time."

Also on Saturday, Phil Mickelson just made the cut despite hitting his second shot in the water at No. 18 on the Palmer course. Mickelson is 11 under after a 6-under 66.

See how it all unfolded Saturday in the California desert:

• • •

Update No. 33: 6:40 p.m. EST

Phil Mickelson avoids disaster, getting up-and-down for par at No. 18. He finishes at 11 under after a 6-under 66 Saturday. That was a big save as there is an outside chance the cut could move to 11 under. Either way, Lefty will be playing Sunday. Also, Matt Kuchar closes with birdie at No. 18 and enters Sunday at 13 under.

• • •

Update No. 32: 6:34 p.m. EST

Phil Mickelson got into trouble at No. 18. He hit 3-wood off the tee and pounded it down the fairway. He then hit a long iron for his second shot, missed a bit left, and his ball hit the green and ran off the back and into the water. Mickelson entered the hole at 11 under, and an up=and-down would get him a par. Stay tuned!

• • •

Update No. 31: 6:21 p.m. EST

Well, Scott Langley gave himself a look at eagle at No. 18 on the Palmer, but left the long putt a foot short and slightly to the left. He tapped in the birdie, but his run ends at 9 under, just below the projected cut of 10 under.

Even more disappointing is Mike Weir's close to his round. He entered No. 18 on the Palmer at 10 under, but a triple bogey dropped him to 7 under. Weir hasn't made a cut now in 18 starts. His last cut came at the 2011 AT&T National, where he finished T-70.

• • •

Update No. 30: 6:15 p.m. EST

The par-3 17th at the Palmer course is only about a 100-yard tee shot, but a creek on the left makes for a very slim margin for error. With that said, Mickelson landed his first shot just to the right of the pin and used a bit of spin and the slope to run the ball to about 8 feet. He then drained the putt, which was pretty straight, and Lefty moves to 11 under with one hole to play.

• • •

Update No. 29: 6:10 p.m. EST

Last year's champ Mark Wilson closed his round with an eagle at No. 18 on the Palmer course. It was Wilson's second straight 6-under 66, but an opening-round 77 ruined any chance of Wilson making the cut and having a shot at defending his title.

• • •

Update No. 28: 6:07 p.m. EST

Phil Mickelson just moved to 10 under thanks to a birdie at No. 16 on the Palmer course. Mickelson stuck his approach to about 2 feet, setting up the easy birdie. Also, Scott Langley made par at No. 17 and will need to eagle at the par-5 18th to get inside the projected cut of 10 under.

• • •

Update No. 27: 5:50 p.m. EST

Phil Mickelson is still stuck at 9 under. He missed about a 15 footer for birdie at the par-3 15th on the Palmer course. Remember the projected cut is 10 under.

Also, speaking of the cut line, Scott Langley needs to birdie his final two holes on the Palmer course to get into the weekend. He stuck an approach at No. 16 to about 2 feet, making birdie.

• • •

Update No. 26: 5:27 p.m. EST

Scott Stallings is in the clubhouse with a 9-under 63. He's got a five-shot lead right now, too. Stallings stuck his approach at No. 9 on the Nicklaus course to about 8 feet, but just missed the birdie. Nonetheless, he'll enter Sunday with a ton of momentum.

• • •

Update No. 25: 5:15 p.m. EST

Brian Stuard closed with a bogey at No. 18, leaving his chip short of the green before nearly holing his par chip. Stuard finishes with a 10-under 62.

Also, Mickelson just put his tee shot up against a lip of a fairway bunker at the par-5 14th on the Palmer course. Mickelson has not missed a cut at this event since 1994 (eight starts). He's at 9 under, one below the projected cut of 10 under.

• • •

Update No. 24: 5:11 p.m. EST

Scott Stallings has taken a five-shot lead after making a 35 footer for eagle at the par-5 eighth. He's now 22 under with one left in his third round on the Nicklaus course.

• • •

Update No. 23: 5:06 p.m. EST

The projected cut is now 10 under, meaning Phil Mickelson, who is at 9 under with four holes left, still has some work to do to make it to Sunday. Notables at 10 under include Boo Weekley, Camilo Villegas and PGA Tour rookie Alistair Presnell. Notables at 9 under include Mickelson, Charlie Wi, Trevor Immelman and 2012 Web.com Tour grad Luke Guthrie. One shot below them is a group that includes Davis Love III, Gary Woodland and Tim Clark.

• • •

Update No. 22: 4:59 p.m. EST

Brian Stuard entered the day figuring he'd be fighting to make the cut. Now he'll enter Sunday within striking distance of the lead. Stuard, a 2012 Web.com Tour grad, is 11 under through 17 holes on the Nicklaus course. He's currently in a five-way tie for second at 17 under, three shots back of leader Scott Stallings (20 under). Barring a disaster at No. 18, Stuard will be in good position to record his second straight top 10.

• • •

Update No. 21: 4:35 p.m. EST

Phil Mickelson just missed a big eagle putt at the par-5 11th, leaving a 30 footer just short. He settled for birdie – his first in seven holes after three straight at Nos. 2-4 – and has now moved above the projected cut line at 9 under. Lefty's playing competitor, Matt Kuchar, also birdied despite missing the green left on his second shot and running his chip about 15 feet past. Kuchar is now at 14 under, five shots behind leader Scott Stallings, who is 19 under and two shots clear of Greg Chalmers and Roberto Castro.

• • •

Update No. 20: 4:23 p.m. EST

Russell Henley notched the worst score of his PGA Tour career on Friday, shooting 3-under 69. That's how good the 2013 Sony Open champ has been so far in 2013.

But what has happened to Henley today? Henley, who was near the top pf the leaderboard after the first two rounds, scored a 4-over 8 at the par-4 18th at La Quinta CC. He's 1 over through 14 holes today and has fallen back to 10 under, but aside from the quadruple bogey, Henley's got four birdies, including two in his last three holes as he attempts to secure a spot in the weekend. He's one above the projected cut line of 9 under right now.

• • •

Update No. 19: 4:03 p.m. EST

Scott Stallings just birdied the par-5 fourth hole on the Nicklaus course to move to 18 under and into sole possession of the lead. Check out this For Your Game with Stallings.

• • •

Update No. 18: 3:52 p.m. EST

Brian Stuard is having a strong start to his 2013 PGA Tour season. Stuard finished T-5 at the Sony Open and is now just outside the top 10 in La Quinta. Stuard has seven birdies and an eagle today (8 under through 13 holes) and has move to 14 under overall. He's gone from maybe missing the cut to possibly having a shot at the win on Sunday. He's just three shots back of leaders Greg Chalmers, Roberto Castro and Scott Stallings, who are all at 17 under.

• • •

Update No. 17: 3:37 p.m. EST

James Hahn entered Saturday's third round in a tie for the lead at 14 under. But while co-second-round-leader Roberto Castro is at 17 under now, Hahn has lost ground. Hahn is 1 over through 12 holes on the Nicklaus Course, falling back to 13 under.

• • •

Update No. 16: 3:18 p.m. EST

The projected cut has officially moved to 9 under, which means Phil Mickelson (8 under) has dropped back below the cut line for the moment. Lefty is 3 under through six holes, but has two straight pars after three consecutive birdies on Nos. 2-4.

• • •

Update No. 15: 3:10 p.m. EST

Jeff Overton is going low today. He's 7 under through 12 holes on the Nicklaus course, and 11 under overall. Also at 11 under are a few notables: Matt Kuchar, Carl Pettersson and two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton.

• • •

Update No. 14: 2:58 p.m. EST

We're about halfway through the round and the projected cut is at 8 under, and about to become 9 under. Among those flirting with the cut line are Russell Henley, Harris English, Camilo Villegas and Bud Cauley at 9 under; Jhonattan Vegas, Chris Kirk and Phil Mickelson at 8 under; and Charlie Wi, Scott Langley and Trevor Immelman at 7 under.

• • •

Update No. 13: 2:43 p.m. EST

Phil Mickelson is starting to really get into a rhythm. Mickelson has three straight birdies on the Palmer course (Nos. 2-4) and is now at 8 under and just inside the projected cut line.

• • •

Update No. 12: 2:34 p.m. EST

Roberto Castro's two-shot lead has disappeared, as Scott Stallings has joined Castro at 17 under. Stallings, last year's True South Classic champion, withdrew at this event in 2012. He's 4 under through eight holes today and playing well after missing the cut last week at the Sony Open.

• • •

Update No. 11: 2:22 p.m. EST

There are only three players in the top 50 right now who are over par for the day. One of those players in Bud Cauley, who is 1 over through five holes at La Quinta CC. Cauley is 10 under overall, two shots above the cut line.

• • •

Update No. 10: 2:11 p.m. EST

Phil Mickelson just moved to 6 under overall after a birdie at No. 2 on the Palmer course. He's still two shots below the projected cut, which has move to 8 under.

• • •

Update No. 9: 2:02 p.m. EST

Sang-Moon Bae finished T-14 a year ago at the Humana Challenge. It was his third-best finish of 2012. Bae also finished T-5 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play and lost in a playoff at the Transitions last season. He finished 58th at last week's Sony Open and it looks like he'll make his second cut of 2013. It also looks like, at least right now, that he could notch his third career top 10 on the PGA Tour. Bae has four birdies in nine holes on the Nicklaus course today. That performance has him at 12 under, six shots behind leader Roberto Castro.

• • •

Update No. 8: 1:43 p.m. EST

Roberto Castro is proving he knows how to play with a lead. Castro is the only player at 4 under or better for the day. He's 18 under overall and also holds a two-shot lead over Scott Stallings (16 under). Also, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson have made par at their first hole of the day. The pair is playing on the Palmer course.

• • •

Update No. 7: 1:22 p.m. EST

Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar have just teed off on the Palmer course at PGA West. Mickelson will need a low number if he's going to make the cut. He starts the day at 6 under and many see the cut line getting to 10 under or so. One thing going for Lefty is there are already many low numbers in the making today.

Among those off to good starts are Roberto Castro, who has retaken the outright lead at 17 under and is 3 under through six holes, and Stewart Cink, who is 3 under through six holes at the Palmer course and has worked his way to 14 under.

Darron Stiles and Scott Stallings are 16 under and in a tie for second, and are both 3 under so far today.

• • •

Update No. 6: 1:02 p.m. EST

Darron Stiles, a 2012 Web.com Tour graduate, has played in 118 PGA Tour events in his career and has finished ninth three times. He's tied for the lead right now at 15 under thanks to two birdies in his first four holes on the Nicklaus course.

• • •

Update No. 5: 12:53 p.m. EST

Hottest player out on the course right now? Well, that would be Davis Love III, who birdied Nos. 1-3 on the Nicklaus course at PGA West. He's 3 under through four holes and is now 6 under overall, which puts him just below the projected cut line of 7 under. The Humana Challenge is unique in that players get three rounds instead of two to make the cut. Many expect the cut line to be around 10 under by the end of the day.

• • •

Update No. 4: 12:31 p.m. EST

David Lingmerth made his first career PGA Tour start last week at the Sony Open and finish T-31. The former University of Arkansas player is on track to better that finish in La Quinta. He just made eagle at the par-5 second hole on the Palmer course at PGA West. That eagle moves him to 2 under through two holes on the day and 14 under overall. He's just one shot back of leader Roberto Castro.

• • •

Update No. 3: 12:15 p.m. EST

Six-time PGA Tour winner Stewart Cink has notched 88 top 10s on the PGA Tour. He's in position to get No. 89 right now. Cink has birdied Nos. 1 and 2 to begin his round Saturday at PGA West's Palmer course to move to 13 under. Cink, who is currently T-3, might have a lot of top 10s, but hasn't had one in an official PGA Tour event since the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship, where he finished T-9.

• • •

Update No. 2: 11:50 a.m. EST

And just as we mention co-leader Roberto Castro, he becomes leader Roberto Castro after a birdie on No. 1 at La Quinta CC. Castro (15 under) now leads James Hahn by one shot. Hahn is expected to tee off in just moments at the Nicklaus course at PGA West.

• • •

Update No. 1: 11:44 a.m. EST

The first groups have now teed off and among the players out on the course early Saturday morning in La Quinta is co-leader Roberto Castro, who is playing at La Quinta CC today after playing both courses at PGA West in a combined 14 under.

• • •

Round 2 coverage

IN THE MIX: Russell Henley turned in the highest score of his rookie PGA Tour Season Friday at the Humana Challenge: a 69. Life is pretty good right now for the rookie, who is in contention in La Quinta. Story.

TRACKER: Roberto Castro and James Hahn held onto the lead after Friday's second round of the Humana Challenge, while Phil Mickelson turned things around. See how it happened.

• • •

Round 1 coverage

TRACKER: There are plenty of big names at the Humana Challenge this week, including Phil Mickelson, but three not-so-big names – Roberto Castro, James Hahn and Jason Kokrak – lead after the first round. Story.

LONG HISTORY: Former President Bill Clinton was at the Humana again because his foundation is a tournament partner and beneficiary. Long before his association here, though, he was no stranger to Tour players. Story.

UNDER THE WEATHER: Phil Mickelson battled the lingering effects of a cold to notch an even-par 72 during the first round of the Humana Challenge. But despite the low energy, Lefty says he's got a low round in him for Friday. Story.

KEEP IT SIMPLE: Watching Russell Henley (an 8-under 64) march up the Humana Challenge leaderboard Thursday, one question comes to mind: Will his ascent continue? He's trying to keep things simple. Story.

• • •

Pre-tournament coverage

THE ODDS: Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Tim Clark and Phil Mickelson have been installed as 15/1 favorites at the Humana Challenge, while Rory McIlroy is a slight favorite over Tiger Woods in Abu Dhabi. Story.

ATTACK MODE: Russell Henley might be 23, but he is wise beyond his years, learning that you must keep the pedal to the metal if you hope to succeed on the PGA Tour. Story.

NOT 'DISAPPOINTED:' Sure, David Toms wanted to be the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but he believes "everything happens for a reason." And the PGA Tour veteran has plenty to keep himself occupied as he looks for another shot in 2016. Story.

PREDICTIONS: Phil Mickelson returns to action this week, and yes, he is picked by one of our panelists. But there are five different favorites on our radar for the PGA Tour's Humana Challenge this week . . . Tip Sheet.

COMEBACK: The Humana Challenge, formerly the Bob Hope Classic, has staged a remarkable comeback in the past two years. Story.

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