SAN ANTONIO — Billy Horschel was confident about his chances of staying on top at the Texas Open after taking the second-round lead.
The relatively unknown up-and-comer lived up to his words on Saturday, holding off an experienced leaderboard to shoot 2-under-par 70 and take a two-shot lead entering the final round.
Horschel finished second at last week’s Houston Open, and he extended his PGA Tour-best streak of consecutive cuts made to 21 this week.
Still, the Florida native faces the daunting task of fending off a trailing pack that includes former major winners Jim Furyk, Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington if he’s to earn his first PGA Tour win today.
Just tell him that.
“I’ve never been star struck out here,” Horschel said. “... I respect all the veterans out here. I respect everyone that’s put their time (in) out here.
“But at the same time, I’m as confident as I’ve ever been, and I feel just as good as anyone else in the world right now.”
Horschel enters the final day with a two-shot lead over Furyk and Charley Hoffman. He’s four shots ahead of a trio that includes former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who would like nothing better than to close out with a win today on his way to next week’s Masters Tournament.
McIlroy shot 1-under 71 to reach 6-under overall. He tied for the low round on Friday with 67, but he was inconsistent off the tee on Saturday and had four birdies and three bogeys.
The world No. 2 hit just 7 of 14 fairways for the second time in the tournament, continuing his trend of up-and-down play this year after an off-season equipment change.
“It was a tough scoring day,” McIlroy said. “It was hard to really go low under par.
“... I probably should have been a couple better, but at the end of the day, it’s still a solid round, and I still have a chance coming into tomorrow.”
LPGA TOUR: In Rancho Mirage, Calif., Inbee Park opened a three-shot lead in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
The 24-year-old South Korean shot 5-under-par 67 to reach 12-under at Mission Hills, putting her in position for her second major title and second victory of the year.
Lizette Salas, a stroke behind Park entering the round, had 69 to remain in second place.
Former Columbia County resident Ashlan Ramsay shot 73 and is tied for 50th.
WEB.COM TOUR: In Sao Paulo, Brazil, Benjamin Alvarado shot 5-under-par 66 to open a three-stroke lead after the third round of the Brazil Classic at Sao Paulo Golf Club.
Alvarado is 17-under 196 overall.
Kevin Kim shot 67 and is second.