Steve Lowery and Carl Pettersson were on the putting green when they felt the warm wind on their face and slick grass beneath their feet Saturday, two sure signs that the Chrysler Championship would be as tough as ever.
That's one reason neither feels safe sharing a three-shot lead at Palm Harbor, Fla.
Pettersson found his rhythm around the turn, making five consecutive iron shots inside 12 feet and converting three of them for birdies on his way to a four-under-par 67.
Lowery saved par with a 30-foot putt on the ninth hole and birdied the next two holes for a one-under 70, a satisfying round on another tough day at Innisbrook that put him atop the leaderboard with Pettersson at nine-under 204.
Davis Love III (70), Tom Pernice Jr. (70) and Daniel Chopra (68) were at 207.
The leaders hardly felt safe.
"Somebody gets hot during the day, and it could be the last three groups. Who knows?" Lowery said. "Carl is certainly capable of winning. I am. It's just a matter of who handles it well tomorrow and gets confidence and drives it in the fairway a lot and makes some putts."
Love, trying to avoid another winless season, rebounded from a double bogey in the water on No. 3 to stay in the hunt, although he lost a chance to get into the final group by missing a six-foot birdie on the last hole.
Jay Haas shot a tournament record-tying nine-under 63 to take a six-shot lead after the third round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Sonoma, Calif.
Haas, starting the round only one stroke back at five under, went ahead by nine strokes after six holes. He finished at 14-under 202. His six-shot advantage also matches the Champions Tour's 54-hole record
Tom Kite started with three consecutive birdies and was tied for second with tour-leading money-winner Dana Quigley (68), Tom Watson (69), Loren Roberts (70) and Nielsen (70).
Jee Young Lee had two double bogeys in the last five holes and wound up with a three-stroke lead after two rounds of the LPGA Tour's CJ Nine Bridges Classic at Jeju, South Korea.
Lee, who at one point was at 11 under, shot a one-over 73 for a six-under 138 to lead Mi Hyun Kim (71) and Jeong Jang (74).
Sergio Garcia shot a 68 to share the third-round lead with Colin Montgomerie at 10 under in the Volvo Masters at Sotogrande, Spain.
Roddick Goes After
Lyon Grand Prix Title
Top-seeded Andy Roddick defeated Fabrice Santoro of France, 6-4, 7-6 (5), and Gael Monfils of France defeated countryman Sebastien Grosjean, 6-4, 7-5, in the semifinals of the Lyon Grand Prix in France.
Roddick is aiming for his 20th ATP title.
The former U.S. Open champion and two-time Wimbledon finalist is 55-13 this season.
Roddick broke Santoro in the second game of the first set and had 23 aces overall, including three in the tiebreaker. Santoro, who saved two break points at 4-4 in the second set, lost the match on serve when he hit a forehand into the net.
Top-seeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium needed only about 50 minutes to defeat fourth-seeded Dinara Safina of Russia, 6-0, 6-1, to advance to the finals of the Gaz de France Stars at Hasselt, Belgium.
Francesca Schiavone of Italy defeated Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, in the other semifinal.
Qualifier Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus reached his first ATP tournament final by defeating second-seeded David Nalbandian of Argentina, 6-2, 7-6 (3), in the Swiss Indoors at Basel. Third-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile defeated fifth-seeded Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia, 6-0, 6-3, in the other semifinal.
Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, seeded fourth, secured a spot in the elite WTA Masters field with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Ana Ivanovic of Serbia and Montenegro that put her into the finals of the Generali Ladies at Linz, Austria. Third-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia beat Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-4, in the other semifinal.
Second-seeded Thomas Johansson of Sweden defeated Fernando Verdasco of Spain, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, and fifth-seeded Nicolas Kiefer of Germany defeated Robin Vik of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-4, in the semifinals of the St. Petersburg Open in Russia.
Venus Williams withdrew because of a knee injury from the Advanta Championships that start Monday at Villanova University outside Philadelphia. Williams, who has played only one match since the U.S. Open, is questionable for the WTA Championships at Staples Center beginning Nov. 7.
Kyle Busch Charges
to Truck Series Win
Gambling on a late pit stop for fresh tires in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., Kyle Busch charged from eighth to a victory in a three-lap dash that ended with most of the leaders involved in a crash.
Busch gave up second place to pit for tires in his Chevrolet and restarted eighth on Lap 128 of the 130-lap race. He picked his way through traffic and was third heading into the final lap around the 1.5-mile track.