Hilton Head Island, SC – Charley Hoffman fired a 5-under 66 on Saturday and grabbed a 2-stroke lead over Webb Simpson at the RBC Heritage.
Hoffman, Steve LeBrun and Kevin Streelman held the 36-hole lead after the rain-suspended second round concluded Saturday morning. Hoffman then tallied five birdies during his bogey-free third round to finish 54 holes at 11-under 202.
"Once you learn what side of the fairway to leave it on and where to miss, you have a real big advantage," said Hoffman.
Simpson, who missed the cut at the Masters, carded a 6-under 65 -- the low score of the third round -- and moved into second place at 9-under. Streelman sits alone in third place at 8-under after shooting 69 at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Graeme McDowell (68) and Brendon de Jonge (67) are tied for fourth at 7-under, while LeBrun (71) and Bill Haas (70) are part of a large group knotted in sixth place at 6-under.
A season-high 91 players made the initial cut at the end of the second round, necessitating another cut after the third. Defending champion Carl Pettersson, 2011 winner Brandt Snedeker and Martin Kaymer all made the second cut on the line at 2-over, while Hunter Mahan finished at 9-over and failed to make it through to Sunday.
Hoffman, who tied for eighth here last year, jumped in front on the first hole when he drained a 31-foot birdie putt. He followed with birdies on three of his next four holes to reach 10-under and grab a 2-stroke lead over LeBrun.
LeBrun fell off the pace when be bogeyed the last two holes of his outward nine, and as Hoffman embarked on a lengthy par stretch, Simpson made his move.
The reigning U.S. Open champion carded six birdies and no bogeys during his third round, while hitting 15 greens. He had three birdies during an outward 33 and further gains on Nos 10, 11 and 15 had Simpson within a stroke of the lead at 9-under. He parred out to stay in second place.
"It's all in my swing," said Simpson, who is looking to win for the first time since his victory at the Olympic Club. "We've been working on the same thing all year. We knew where we wanted to get, we just didn't know how to work on it. Once we found out how to work on it, everything clicked."
Hoffman, meanwhile, jumped ahead by two and highlighted his sparkling round when he rolled home a 38-foot birdie putt on No. 15 to reach 11-under. He closed with a hatrick of pars to remain on top.
NOTES: Hoffman finished third at the Texas Open this year ... Simpson's winless streak spans 19 starts ... The 91 players to make the cut tied the record since 1970 -- 91 players also made the cut at the 1981 Travelers Championship ... Billy Horschel, who is 6-under, owns the longest active cuts- made streak on the PGA Tour with 22 in a row ... A defending champ at the RCB Heritage has not missed the cut since 1993.