Chad Campbell kept chipping away at par Friday in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, shooting a 4-under 68 for a four-stroke lead after three rounds.
updated: February 25, 2007 11:39 IST
Palm Desert:Chad Campbell kept chipping away at par Friday in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, shooting a 4-under 68 for a four-stroke lead after three rounds. He went to 19-under 197 through 54 holes of the 90-hole event. Scott Verplank had a 65 and John Senden a 68 to tie for second. Phil Mickelson, who won the Hope in 2002 and 2004 and is making his first start of the year, had a 68 that left him six shots off the lead. Pat Perez tied him for fourth at 13 under, shooting a 70. A model of consistency, Campbell finally had his first bogey of the tournament on his 17th hole of the day, No. 8 on the Arnold Palmer Course at PGA West. That ended a string of 60 consecutive holes without a bogey dating to his runner-up finish in Hawaii last weekend. He has had two bogeys in 96 holes, and couldn't clearly recall the last one before the Hope. ''Honestly, I don't remember,'' Campbell said. ''I'm sure it was in Hawaii, the final round somewhere.'' The latest was vivid in his memory, of course. ''I hit a bad tee shot, in the fairway bunker, then I caught it a little heavy and hit it in the bunker short of the green, then missed about a 20-footer for par,'' Campbell said. ''It was just kind of a nightmare hole for me.'' The players rotate among four courses for the opening four days of the Hope, with the first 72 holes a pro-am before the field is reduced to the 70 low-scoring pros and ties for the final round. Campbell will play the fourth round over the new Classic Course at Northstar, considered the most difficult of the four courses and the site of Sunday's final 18 holes. Gusting wind had made the layout especially difficult earlier in the week. ''Obviously, it's been the hardest course,'' Campbell said. ''I'm looking forward to playing it. If the wind is not blowing, you can make some birdies. In turn, if the wind is blowing, a couple under is a great score.'' Campbell had taken a four-shot lead with a second-round 66 at La Quinta Country Club as Perez, who opened with a 60, struggled to a 73 during a windy second round at the Classic Course. Perez followed with a 2-under round at Bermuda Dunes Country Club on the third day to remain in the hunt. Verplank played his third round at the Classic Course, with virtually no wind. ''The weather is so nice here today, I feel sorry for those guys who had to play here yesterday,'' Verplank said. He added with a grin, ''But not that sorry. Sounds good, anyway, that you feel sorry for them.'' Mickelson, who also played his third round at the Classic Course, said he wasn't sure what to expect this week after taking time off over the winter. ''After not playing for a few months, you're never quite certain how things are going to go,'' he said. ''I came out and played a very good front nine at La Quinta and have been playing somewhat OK since, too.'' Mickelson began the tournament with a 5-under 31 on the front nine at La Quinta, where he finished the first round with a 66. Campbell was tied with David Toms for the lead heading into the final round at Hawaii on Sunday, but shot a 70 to finish in a second-place tie with Rory Sabbatini as Toms won it with a 65. (AP)