Date: January 19, 2008

Gamez the man to catch

Robert Gamez birdied his final two holes to snatch a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic with Aussies Steve Elkington (13-under) and Brett Rumford (12-under) five and six shots off the pace respectively. Gamez shot a five-under-par 67 to move to 18-under overall, one stroke clear of DJ Trahan and Justin Leonard. Boo Weekley carded a tournament-best 10-under 62 to jump from a 34th-place tie into fourth. Gamez, who shared the lead with Trahan at the start of the day, put together his third consecutive round in the 60s. It appeared they were headed for a tie for the lead with Leonard but Gamez – who started on the back nine – dropped a stroke after a bogey at the seventh, his 16th hole. However, he followed with birdies at the eighth and ninth to seize the lead heading into day four of the five-round pro-am event. “The conditions were there, you could go low, for sure,” Gamez said. “They were out there for the taking with the wind being down and the weather being warmer, and I thought there would be a lot lower scores.” Despite carding a 68, Trahan was still surprised to finish the day in second. “You come here and expect to shoot six or seven under,” he said. “It&aposs tough to play great golf five days in a row. I shot 68 and thought I was losing ground.” Someone who did make up plenty of ground was Weekley after sinking 11 birdies – including four in a row to end his round – against just one bogey. “Today it was like it all clicked,” Weekley said. “I&aposm hoping that this is the start of something that is more to come.” Leonard shot a third-round 67 and has been pleased with his form so far this season. “I&aposm playing with confidence,” said Leonard, who won this event in 2005. “I like the way I&aposm rolling the ball. I don&apost have a lot of swing thoughts so I am trying to make the game as simple as possible.” “I can just really go out and focus on what kind of shot I want to try and hit, and it&aposs made the game for me a lot easier.” “I think that by not really having a whole lot to work on right now, other than just pay attention to a couple things, I&aposm able to go out and really play aggressively.” Elkington is tied for fifth with Kenny Perry, Anthony Kim and Tim Petrovic at 13-under. Perry posted a 65 but could have joined Weekley had he not bogeyed the last hole. “I played good all the way to the last hole,” said Perry. “I didn&apost make a bogey until the final hole. Dinner&aposs not going to taste too good tonight.” Kim could have shot lower than a 67 but was hampered by some indifferent putting. “It could have been a lot better,” he said. “I missed four or five putts from inside 10 feet and three inside five feet.” Elkington registered a third round of 69 after rattling off four birdies, his only blemish came in the form a 16th hole-bogey. Rumford is a shot further back from Elkington in equal ninth position after he too chalked up four birdies and a bogey to post a three-under par on day three. Matthew Goggin and John Senden are both three shots behind Rumford in a tie for 23rd position on nine-under par while Rod Pampling, Mark Hensby and Matt Jones are all on eight-under. Meanwhile, Robert Allenby (six-under) is in equal 50th position with Nick Flanagan and Nathan Green four shots further back in a tie for 102nd spot on two-under. Stephen Leaney finds himself 22 shots off the leader on four-over par after three rounds while New Zealander Tim Wilkinson finds himself on two-under after a third round of 72.