Stallings leads Humana Challenge


LA QUINTA, Calif. — Scott Stallings opened a five-stroke lead in the Humana Challenge on Saturday, holing a 20-foot downhill putt on the par-5 eighth hole for his second eagle of the round.

Stallings shot a 9-under 63 to reach 22-under 194 after three days in perfect conditions in the Coachella Valley. He played PGA West’s Jack Nicklaus course after opening the pro-am event with a 66 on the Arnold Palmer course — the site of the final round today — and shooting a 65 at La Quinta.

“I stayed aggressive,” Stallings said. “Playing with John (Rollins) was a huge help. He’s a good guy and he was an easy guy to club off of. … We made a lot of birdies the last couple days, and so we kind of fed off each other, and that’s definitely what you need to try to do in this format.”

Stallings also eagled the par-5 13th — hitting a 6-iron to 8 feet — and had five birdies in his third straight bogey-free round. The 27-year-old former Tennessee Tech player has two PGA Tour victories, winning the 2011 Greenbrier Classic and 2012 True South Classic.

“I guess you can say it’s conservatively aggressive,” Stallings said. “Like No. 8, I hit a really good drive and had 8-iron. But just because I had 8-iron to a par 5, I fired it in the middle of the green, had a 20-footer and was happy to make it.”

Rollins had a 64 to move into a tied for second with Stewart Cink, Roberto Castro, Charles Howell III and Charley Hoffman.

Rose takes control

in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Justin Rose extended his lead at the Abu Dhabi Championship on Saturday, shooting a 4-under 68 to take a two-shot lead over Jamie Donaldson and Thorbjorn Olesen.

A day after top-ranked Rory McIlroy and second-ranked Tiger Woods missed the cut, the fifth-ranked Englishman made his third round look easy with seven birdies. After three-putting on the first for a bogey, Rose had a stretch of six birdies over nine holes — including sinking a 20-footer on No. 5 that gave him back the lead and an approach shot on No. 9 that rolled to 4 feet from the hole for birdie.

Olesen (69) and Donaldson (69) struggled to make putts early but finished with birdies to close the gap. Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (66) finished with two birdies to move into fourth, three shots behind Rose.

Rose cooled down on the back nine, hitting errant drives on Nos. 13 and 17 that led to bogeys and reduced a four-shot lead to two. After Olesen and Donaldson birdied No. 18, Rose responded by nearly chipping in on the same hole and finished with his seventh birdie that gave him a three-round total of 204.