Northern Trust Open, Bill Haas the Defending Champ leads after round three.

Bill Haas / Getty Images

The defending Champion at Riviera Country Club, Northern Trust Open, Bill Haas has topped the leaderboard after the third round, with a round of -7 under par, 74 for a tournament score of -2 under par. The only thing he thinks about is winning this tournament;

“It’s very difficult in this game to just pull away from the rest of the field. You’ve only seen a few guys ever really do that, and those are guys like Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson. So I think I’ve just got to stay in the moment, don’t let my emotions get the best of me. I was just kind of plugging along out there and then all of a sudden, made a nice putt at 9, chip-in at 10, good up-and-down at 11.”

Webb Simpson and John Merrick from the U.S. with South African Charl Schwartzel are tied in second place with totals of -9 under par, three shots off the leading score of  Bill Haas;

Webb Simpson thinks Bill Haas has got the tournament in the bag, if he plays well in the final round;

” I think Bill is in a position, if he keeps a three-shot lead and goes and plays well again, that it’s going to be hard to catch him. But with the golf course this tricky, you get a guy that has a good front nine, he could be tied or even in the lead with nine to go. So anything can happen tomorrow.”

Charl Schwartzel said it was easy to make bogey on this course, especially for the last groups of the day;

It’s easy to make bogeys, the course got a bit firmer and, playing in the last few groups, the greens get a bit more bumpy. So it’s hard to make birdies and also to keep the bogeys off the card. I probably won’t change anything, just keep playing the way I am and see if I can give myself chances and see what happens. I know the game is good enough to be able to win tomorrow. I’ve had a good run and been consistent, just see if we can keep going with it.”

John Merrick was happy to see some UCLA cheerleaders around the course;

“I saw some UCLA cheerleaders out there, pretty psyched. Got a lot of support out there from fans and friends and family coming up from Long Beach. So it was a good time. I played the par fives great. You’re going to have to make a lot of putts out here because you’re not going to hit every green.  You know you’re going to be chipping and you have to make those putts inside ten feet. But I was generally happy with the day. You really need to pick your spots here, definitely, you can’t shoot at every flag, and that’s kind of one of those things around here, it just baits you into being more aggressive than you need and you need to putt well obviously.”

Looks like Bill Haas has this repeat win sewn up, but anything can happen on a golf course, tomorrow will tell.

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