Si Woo Kim retains Valero Texas Open lead as rivals close in
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Last Updated: 07/04/19 8:44pm
Si Woo Kim remained at the top of the leaderboard following the third round of the Valero Texas Open, although he has seen his lead trimmed to just one shot.
The 23-year-old South Korean started the day four clear at TPC San Antonio after carding back-to-back 66s and a three-under 69 proved good enough to keep him ahead on 15-under 201.
Canadian Corey Conners is Kim's nearest challenger on 14 under after he fired a 66, but American Charley Hoffman went two shots better with an eight-under 64 to storm into third place on 13 under.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler had been within striking distance of Kim overnight in a tie for second place on eight under, but they both struggled with matching one-over 71s to slip to a tie for 16th place on seven under.
Kim started badly with a bogey but recovered immediately from that with a birdie at the second before adding further gains at the seventh and 10th.
The 2017 Players champion spurned a glorious chance to birdie the par-three 16th after he was a matter of inches away from making a hole-in-one there for the second day running, although he did birdie the last after a fine greenside bunker shot to stay on track for a wire-to-wire victory.
Conners only secured his place in the tournament after winning a six-man play-off in qualifying on Monday, but he is making the most of his chance.
The 27-year-old, who will earn a place in The Masters if he can win his first PGA Tour title on Sunday, made a storming start as excellent approach shots gave him birdies at the first two holes and he was then a whisker away from making an ace at the third.
He continued to make inroads into Kim's lead with birdies at the fifth and seventh before mixing three more birdies with two bogeys on the back nine as he joined Kim in front.
Improving Hoffman followed rounds of 71 and 68 with his 64 which featured three birdies on the front nine and a closing seven holes which included four birdies, one bogey and an eagle at the 18th after he hit his second shot to 10 feet.
Scott Brown (67), Jhonattan Vegas (67) and Kyoung-Hoon Lee (69) share fourth place on 11 under.
Spieth produced a remarkable round of two halves, a horrid front-nine 42 and then coming home in five-under 31.
He double-bogeyed both the fourth and ninth on the way out, as well as bogeying the third and fifth, before clicking into gear and embarking on a run of five birdies in seven holes from the 12th.
Fowler bogeyed the opening two holes to set the tone for his round and there were few bright spots until he finished in style with an eagle at the 18th.
Scotland's Martin Laird (68) and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who failed to spark in a level-par 72, are among a large group tied for 24th on six under.
Kim may have just failed to add to his ace on Friday, but Canada's Nick Taylor did make a hole-in-one at the par-three 13th during the third round on his way to a one-under 71 which left him on four under.