Sergio Garcia of Spain carded a bogey-free 7-under-par 65 and took a one-stroke lead over Matt Kuchar into the third round of the Shell Houston Open on the Tournament Course at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas.
Garcia, who has won eight times on the PGA Tour but not since the 2012 Wyndham Championship to break a four-year drought, started on the back nine and went birdie-eagle-birdie in a three-hole stretch through No. 14 before adding three straight birdies from Nos. 3-5 on the front.
“I hit a good amount of good shots in tough conditions,” said Garcia, whose only bogey in 36 holes came on No. 4 in round one, when he shot 67. “Overall, it was very difficult out there … so only one bogey in 36 holes is nice.
“I’ve been working (on my putting) for three weeks at home, making sure I keep my head down. When I keep my head down, I get a much better roll and it was nice to make some good putts.”
Kuchar, who shot 66 in round one, was tied for the lead after collecting six birdies capped by a 29-foot putt on the 17th hole, but drove into a fairway bunker on the final hole and eventually missed a six-foot par putt to wind up at 67.
Cameron Tringale of Laguna Nigel posted a bogey-free 68 and was tied for third, four shots back, with Matt Jones of Australia, who also had a 68, Shawn Stefani, who came in at 69, and FedEx Cup leader Jimmy Walker, who wound up at 65.
Phil Mickelson, looking for his first top-10 finish of the season after withdrawing from the Valero Texas Open in the third round last week because of a strained muscle, shot 70 and was six strokes back in a tie for ninth.