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Love takes 1-shot lead into final round at Honda

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Davis Love III is widely considered the top player in the Honda Classic field.

He showed why Saturday.

The only player in the tournament among the top 10 in the world was 7-under through the final 11 holes of the third round, and wound up with a second straight 65.

Love is 20 under at 196, and carries a one-shot lead into Sundays' final round.

Justin Leonard birdied the final six holes to shoot an 8-under 64 and will join Love and short-game specialist Chris Riley in the final group.

It could be shootout, because 13 players are within four strokes of the lead.

Leonard is one shot back, Riley two. Billy Mayfair, Woody Austin, Carlos Franco, Jerry Kelly, Tom Byrum and Notah Begay III are 17 under.

Brett Quigley, Chad Campbell, Mark O'Meara, Shaun Micheel and Jeff Brehaut are another shot behind.

"Davis Love and Justin Leonard, they're Hall of Famers in my book, so I think they will be the guys to beat," Riley said. "They have been there a lot. I haven't been there as much as them.

"That's why people come out to watch — to see if someone like me can beat those guys."

World No. 7 Love has been the most consistent player through three rounds at the Honda — shooting 66-65-65 — and has been one of the steadiest on tour this season.

He hasn't missed a cut, winning at Pebble Beach last month, finishing in a tie for 17th in the Match Play Championship and posting two 12th-place finishes, including last week at Doral.

He's fourth on the money list, with earnings of more than $1.17 million in five events. His worst finish was a tie for 49th in the Nissan Open.

"I think Davis is one of the top five players in the world," Mayfair said. "When he gets on a roll and starts putting good, he's pretty hard to beat.

"He has a great short game, but I think he's just a great ball-striker. He drives it a long way, he hits long, high iron shots all the time. I think he's just an all-around great player."

Love has 15 career wins on tour, but only two in the last five years. He hasn't won more than three times in any season despite finishing in the top 10 on the money list in eight of the last 12 years.

"Why hasn't he won more?" Mayfair said. "Sometimes you've just got to be in the right spot at the right time to win more than he has."

LPGA IN TUCSON: Canada's Lorie Kane, blown away with the rest of the field by Meg Mallon's 60 on Friday, shot a 5-under 65 Saturday to regain the lead in the year's first LPGA Tour event.

Kane also led the Welch's-Fry's first round after shooting a career-low 61, but trailed Mallon by three shots going into the third. A crucial swing occurred when Mallon, who had reached 19 under by playing 41 consecutive holes without a bogey, had back-to-back bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes.

Kane, playing half a fairway ahead, took the lead when she holed a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 15 and parred out for a 54-hole total of 18-under 192.

Christina Kim shot a 62 on her 19th birthday and claimed sole possession of second at 193.

Mallon and playing partner Wendy Doolan will begin the final round two shots off the pace. Doolan carded a 67 to Mallon's 70.

Brandie Burton, who won this event in 1992, shot a 66 to get into a three-woman group at 196. Grace Park was in contention for the lead through 13 holes, but bogeyed two of the next three to finish with a 68 and the tie with Burton and Young Kim (69).

The wind came up in the afternoon, and the 6,176-yard Dell Urich Golf Course, in use by the LPGA for the first time, played tougher than it had the first two days.

QATAR MASTERS: In Doha, South Africa's James Kingston was 9 under through four holes of the third round of the Qatar Masters when play suspended because of darkness.

England's David Howell was two strokes back, also through four holes of the third round.

Wales' Ian Woosnam and Italy's Costantino Rocca missed the cut after officials limited the field for the final two rounds to the top 50 players and ties.

SBC CLASSIC: In Santa Clarita, Calif., Rain forced Champions Tour officials to call off play in the SBC Classic, reducing the event to 36 holes.

Gil Morgan took the lead Friday with a 7-under 65. John Schroeder opened with a 66, Tom Purtzer and James Mason shot 67s, and Sammy Rachels and Allen Doyle had 69s.