Ernie Els' 2-under-par 69 Saturday lengthened his lead to six strokes after three rounds of the Buick Classic as his pursuers melted away on greens made treacherous by a third straight day of sun, heat and wind.
Els' 54-hole total of 13-under 200 was stroke better than the mark set when the Westchester Country Club has played as a par 71. The previous record was held David Graham (1976) and Andy North (1977).The six-stroke lead tied Greg Norman at the Masters for the largest after three rounds this year on the U.S. tour.
Els' closest pursuer was Tim Herron, who shot a 68 Saturday and was at 206. Steve Elkington, who shot a 70, and Craig Parry, 72, were at 208, while Fred Fund, Brad Faxon and Tom Lehman, who all shot the day's low round of 67, were at 209.
Provo's Mike Reid was another stroke back at 210.
Els has won twice in the United States, the 1994 U.S. Open and the 1995 GTE Byron Nelson Classic. He has come close to winning in his only two Buick Classic appearances, finishing second in 1994 and tying for fourth in 1995.
His round Saturday was the 10th time in 11 rounds at the Buick Classic that he has broken 70.
Elkington made what amounted to the best run of the day at Els when he birdied Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 7 to get to eight under and close within two shots of the lead. But Elkington bogeyed Nos. 8, 10 and 16.
Els bogeyed the first two holes Saturday but righted himself with a 5-foot birdie putt at No. 3.
After six straight pars, Els made a scrambling birdie 4 at No. 9 and then birdied Nos. 12 and 13 to start running away from the field. At one point on the back nine, Herron was the only golfer within nine strokes of Els.
David Frost, playing in the final pairing with Els, bogeyed Nos. 2 and 3 and could never put any heat on his playing partner. He finished with a 74 and was at 210.
Likewise, Parry, tied with Frost five strokes behind Els as the day began, was even on the front nine Saturday and fell off the pace with a double-bogey at No. 10.
Norman, six strokes behind Els after two rounds, shot a 74 and was at 211.
Joey Sindelar, also at 211, had the other round of 67 Saturday.
LPGA Oldsmobile Classic
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Tracy Hanson shot a 9-under-par 63 - the best round of her career - and took a two-stroke lead over Pat Bradley on Saturday after three rounds of the LPGA Oldsmobile Classic.
Hanson, 24, who has never won on the LPGA tour, had five straight birdies and nine for the round at the 6,191-yard Walnut Hills Country Club course.
"Overall, I stayed in a real consistent rhythm today," said Hanson, who is at 12-under 204 for the tournament. "I hit the ball close and putted really well. That rhythm was the key out there today."
Second-round leader Emilee Klein, Michelle McGann, Alison Nicholas and Liselotte Neumann were all one stroke behind Bradley and one stroke ahead of four others.
Pittsburgh Senior Classic
MIDWAY, Pa. - Tom Weiskopf says he doesn't practice golf much anymore. His play at the Pittsburgh Senior Classic indicates otherwise.
Weiskopf had a 5-under-par 67 Saturday and held a three-stroke lead over Bob Eastwood at Quicksilver Golf Club.
"I think he does do more practicing than he probably admits," said Eastwood, who was paired with Weiskopf and watched him hit greens and roll in putts all day. "Tom is hitting the ball well."
Weiskopf, who had a 36-hole total of 9-under 135, plays the Senior PGA Tour part-time and schedules tournaments around his golf course design business. On Saturday, he was able to shake off an opening-hole bogey, making seven birdies and one bogey the rest of the way. He rolled in a 50-footer for birdie on the par-5 15th.
"I'm playing well and playing confidently," said Weiskopf, who has won once already this year, in March at the SBC Dominion Seniors.