SONOMA -- Denis Watson shot a 4-under 68 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Jim Thorpe and Brad Bryant into the final round of the Champion Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Championship.
Watson, a two-time winner this year, had five birdies but fought his game all afternoon. He trailed by two after 13 holes and went into No. 18 a shot behind Thorpe, the 2003 and 2006 winner. But Thorpe made a double bogey on the 412-yard, par-4 final hole to finish with a 69.
Watson was at 15-under 201. Bryant, one of four men in contention for the Charles Schwab Cup race for a $1 million annuity, shot a 67. Bryant trails Loren Roberts (69--210) in the Cup race by 697 points -- he must win today to have a chance.
Thorpe had been in command most of the afternoon after cutting a half inch off his driver following Friday's second round. He played bogey free through the first 17 holes Saturday before falling apart on No. 18.
Thorpe pulled his tee shot into the rough, then opted to lay up with his second shot rather than going for the green in two. His third shot landed 10 feet away from the pin but spun backward and rolled off the green onto the fringe. A chip and two putts later, Thorpe's lead was gone.
"If I had taken another look at that pin I wouldn't have laid it up," said Thorpe, who threw his ball away in disgust after walking off the 18th green. "It was kind of cool and I wasn't quite sure if I could carry the bunkers if I didn't hit it perfect."
PGA TOUR, at Port St. Lucie, Fla. -- Briny Baird just moved into a new house, only a couple minutes down the road from Tesoro Club. No wonder he seemed right at home Saturday.
Making a huge move up the leaderboard, Baird's eight-birdie, one-bogey effort through 15 holes got him to 14 under and within two shots of leaders Bob Estes and Daniel Chopra during the suspended third round at the Ginn sur mer Classic.
Estes and Chopra made it through 11 holes before play was halted at 6:38 p.m. Both were at 16 under for the tournament; Estes was 2 under in his third round, Chopra was 3 under, and they each left long birdie putts at the par-3 12th when they headed in for the evening.
"We could have finished if we had to, but we didn't need to and it was getting dark," Chopra said. "These greens, it's not just slope you have to read. You have to read grain ... if we were in 30th spot, we would have gone ahead and putted out, but there's a lot at stake now."
A lot, indeed: $810,000 goes to today's eventual winner.
By nightfall Saturday, 13 players were within five shots of the lead. In all, 39 players finished and 34 will return this morning to complete the third round.
LPGA TOUR, at Pattaya, Thailand -- Norwegian star Suzann Pettersen left everyone else behind in the Honda LPGA Thailand, birdieing five of the last seven holes for a bogey-free 9-under 63 and a seven-stroke lead.
Pettersen had a 20-under 196 total at Siam Country Club as she bid for a second straight win and third in four weeks. Solheim Cup teammate Laura Davies (66) was second, a stroke ahead of American Paula Creamer (66).