FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — David Toms felt no need to even look at the Colonial leaderboard until noticing more people with cameras suddenly watching late in his third round.
“I didn’t feel like I was really relevant at the time to even look at it,” Toms said. “I knew something was going on.”
Three years after the last of his 13 PGA Tour victories, also at Hogan’s Alley, the 47-year-old Toms was back in contention. He wasn’t alone.
Toms shared the lead Saturday with Hideki Matsuyama, Chad Campbell and Chris Stroud at 7-under 203, the highest leading 54-hole score at Colonial since 1999. Among the other 13 players within two strokes of the lead were Adam Scott, the No. 1 player in the world, and Jimmy Walker, a three-time winner this season and No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings.
“It’s kind of jammed in there,” Campbell said.
Kevin Chappell, whose early 7-under 63 was the low round of the day, moved from a tie for 60th after just making the cut to within one stroke of the lead.
Matsuyama, the 22-year-old from Japan with five wins at home, shot a bogey-free 64 Saturday. Toms had a 65, local resident Campbell shot 68 and Stroud finished bogey-birdie for a 69.
Walker was 6 under after a 69, and Scott was another stroke back after his bogey-free 66.
Campbell and Walker, playing together, were alone atop the leaderboard at 8 under before both bogeyed the 161-yard 13th hole.
When Walker missed a 9-footer, it was his first bogey all week — and he had another after hitting from two different greenside bunkers at No. 15. Campbell held the lead alone only for a moment before missing his 4-foot par chance at No. 13.
Second-round leader Brice Garnett fell back with a bogey at the 216-yard fourth hole, followed by a double bogey when he drove out of bounds at the tight fifth hole that runs parallel to the Trinity River. The PGA Tour rookie shot 74 and dropped into a tie for 25th at 3 under.
With raised expectations at Colonial after winning his plaid jacket in 2011, Toms missed the cut the last two years.
“I came here this week just a little more relaxed, and just wanted to enjoy the experience,” he said. “And I’ve done that so far. It’s certainly reflective in the way I’ve played.”
Matsuyama had three early birdies in his best round ever on the PGA Tour, including at Nos. 4 and 5 — the last two of a trio of holes known as the “Horrible Horseshoe” because of the layout of difficulty of the holes. There are two tough par 4s with the course’s longest par 3 between them.
“Kind of set the tone for the rest of the round,” Matsuyama said through an interpreter. “Gradually, week by week my game has gotten better, and I feel like I can compete now. “
To stay No. 1 for more than a week, Scott likely has to finish higher at Colonial than third-ranked Henrik Stenson does at Wentworth. Stenson was tied for seventh going into Sunday’s final round in Europe’s flagship event, though he was nine strokes off the lead. Scott was tied for 11th at Colonial, but only two back — after starting the third round tied for 36th in the same group as Matsuyama.
“I can only worry about my golf here,” Scott said. “It’s all very tight, we know that. I’m happy to have gotten to No 1. I hope it’s not a short stay.”
Since four bogeys in his first nine holes this week, Scott has had only one bogey his last 45 holes. He had his only four birdies Saturday in the first eight holes. At the lone par 5 on the back nine, Scott hit his approach in a greenside bunker at No. 11 before blasting to about 6 feet, only to miss the birdie chance.
“I lost my momentum on 11 when I didn’t get up and down,” Scott said. “Even though it’s still a par, it’s almost like giving one away there.”
Chappell chipped in from 40 feet at the third hole, then had consecutive birdies at Nos. 6-9. The only one shorter than 20 feet was a 5-footer at the par-3 eighth. After an eagle from the greenside bunker at the 615-yard 11th — the same bunker from which Scott failed to get up and down — Chappell was 8 under on the day and with thoughts of a record. But he had six pars and a bogey after that.
“I used up a lot of luck today. I had two chip-ins and made some long putts. 59 would have been nice, but kind of lost the feel of the putter there on the back nine,” Chappell said. “But all in all, a good day.”
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