Curtis extends lead at Texas Open

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iol spt april 22 Ben Curtis AFP Ben Curtis plays an approach shot during the third round of the Valero Texas Open at the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.

American Ben Curtis overcame two front nine double-bogeys on a difficult, windy day at the Texas Open to extend his lead to three shots heading into Sunday's final round in San Antonio.

Curtis, the 2003 British Open champion who has struggled to regain his form after a dismal 2011 season, registered three birdies on the back nine in posting a one-over-par 73 for a nine-under 207 total at TPC San Antonio.

Matt Every, who led the first round with a course-record 63, was alone in second place after a 73, two strokes clear of fellow American John Huh (67) and South Koreans Charlie Wi (71) and Noh Seung-yul (68) who were tied at four-under-par 212.

American Matt Kuchar, at world number 15 the highest-ranked player in the field, was another shot away after posting a 67 to stand at three-under 213 along with four others.

Curtis, whose last victory came in 2006, began the third round with a two-shot lead over compatriot David Mathis after 25 players completed the second round Saturday morning. A storm had interrupted play on Friday.

Mathis soared to a 77 and was six strokes back.

The 34-year-old Curtis also got off to a rough start with a double bogey at the par-four first when he took two shots to get out of a green side bunker and then two-putted from nine feet.

Curtis, who posted bogey-free 67s in each of the first two rounds, had another double-bogey at the par-five eighth after an errant drive put him under a mesquite tree surrounded by cactus and forced him to play up the adjacent fairway.

He steadied himself on the homeward half with birdies at the 10th, 14th and 17th holes to compensate for a bogey at 15. That put him in position for a win after a season in which he failed to post any top-10 finishes and plunged to 285 in the rankings. - Reuters


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