Los Angeles (AFP) -
A pair of back-nine birdies got Scottie Scheffler to one-under par 69 on Saturday and to a one-shot lead in the US PGA Tour's Houston Open.
Scheffler had thrust himself into contention with an eight-under par 62 on Friday, a course record on the recently renovated Memorial Park Course.
Low scores were hard to come by in the third round, and Scheffler's effort that included three birdies and two bogeys saw him slip into the solo lead ahead of overnight leader Martin Trainer, Kevin Tway, Kramer Hickok, Matthew Wolff and Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas.
'I'm fairly satisfied with my round,' said Scheffler, who was a captain's pick on the victorious US Ryder Cup team in September. 'I kept myself in position.
'Things were kind of getting a little iffy there for me for a little bit,' added Scheffler, who followed his birdie at the fourth hole with bogeys at the seventh and 11th. 'I felt like I was playing good golf and I was 1-over through 13 holes and I felt like I was playing a lot better than that.
'Definitely nice to make a few birdies down the stretch to get things back in the red.'
Plenty of players found it heavy going on Saturday. Trainer fell back with a bogey at the fourth and a double-bogey at the sixth, but found himself briefly back in the solo lead after a 10-foot birdie at the eighth put him at eight-under.
A birdie and three bogeys coming in gave him a four-over 74 for six-under 204.
Tway, who started the day one off the pace, also flirted with the lead, but he closed with back-to-back bogeys in a three-over 73.
Hickock claimed his slice of second with an even par 70 while Vegas carded a two-under 68 and Wolff signed for a 69.
Scheffler, whose resume includes a 59 shot at the 2020 Northern Trust, said he welcomed the challenge of Memorial Park.
'I think I always prefer the harder courses because I feel like I can take it deep on them still and get myself back in the tournament, which I did this week,' Scheffler said.
'This golf course is pretty challenging, but it's not a golf course where if you're playing great golf, you can't take advantage of it. There's some scoring holes out there and I'm just going to do my best tomorrow to put myself in position and hopefully make some birdies.'
If he does, Scheffler is hoping a 'good solid round of golf' will deliver his first US PGA Tour title.
'There's a lot of good players in the field and the leaderboard's pretty tight together,' he said.
'I'm just going to go out there and do my best and try to put a good round together.'