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Kuchar plays well at windy Houston, leads Garcia by four shots

CBSSports.com wire reports
Matt Kuchar takes the lead early in the third round and never looks back with a 4-under 68. (Getty Images)
Matt Kuchar takes the lead early in the third round and never looks back with a 4-under 68. (Getty Images)

More golf: Kuchar's scorecard | Porter: Kuchar will win at Augusta | Masters

HUMBLE, Texas -- Matt Kuchar overcame windy conditions Saturday to match the low round of the day and take a four-shot lead after three rounds of the Houston Open.

The six-time PGA Tour winner had three straight birdies on the back nine at the Golf Club of Houston to vault past second-round leader Sergio Garcia with a 4-under par 68 -- leaving him at 15 under overall heading into the final round.

Kuchar's last win came at the Memorial last year. He enters Sunday four shots ahead of Cameron Tringale and Garcia.

Tringale shot a 3-under 69 in the third round, while Garcia struggled on his way to a 1-over 73.

Phil Mickelson shot an even-par 72 and is 6 under.

The golfers went off both tees in threesomes early Saturday morning in anticipation of severe weather in the evening, a format they'll use again Sunday with hopes of avoiding a Monday finish leading into next week's Masters.

Garcia, who surged ahead with a 7-under 65 on Friday, began the day with a one-shot lead over Kuchar. That disappeared quickly after the Spaniard bogeyed the first to fall back to 11 under and into a tie with his playing partner, Kuchar.

That was just the beginning of the struggles for Garcia, who later put his tee shot into the water on No. 10.

Kuchar, meanwhile, birdied the first to move into the lead -- a spot he didn't relinquish. He added back-to-back birdies on No. 4 and 5 to move to 14 under, and he added three birdies in a row on the back nine.

He reached 16 under with a birdie on the par-3 14th before three-putting the 18th and settling for 15 under.

Kuchar missed his first four cuts at the Houston Open, but the American finished tied for eighth in 2010 and 2011 before not playing in the tournament the past two years.

Mickelson, after withdrawing from last week's Texas Open with a muscle pull in his right side, struggled from the opening hole Saturday.

The five-time major winner left his opening two approach shots short of the green, the second of which found the bunker and caused him to slump over in the fairway. That led to the first of back-to-back bogeys, though he did recover with three straight birdies on the back nine before settling for his 72.

Rickie Fowler matched Kuchar's low round in Saturday's chilly conditions, posting a 4-under 68 and moving to 8 under overall.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.

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