LAS VEGAS — Jonas Blixt, Brendon de Jonge and Ryan Moore left everyone else behind Saturday in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Blixt birdied six of the last seven holes for a 5-under 66 and a share of the lead with Moore and de Jonge — five strokes ahead of their closest rivals in the Fall Series opener at TPC Summerlin.
Moore had a bogey-free 65, and de Jonge birdied four of the last five for a 66 to match Blixt at 19 under.
“Today was just a good solid day,” Moore said. “I didn’t do anything amazing, but at the same time, I just did what I’ve been doing this whole week, just put it in play, gave myself a bunch of wedges, 9-irons into greens, and was able to convert a bunch of my reasonable birdie chances.”
Moore, a former UNLV player who lives in Las Vegas, won the 2009 Wyndham Championship for his lone PGA Tour title. Blixt, from Sweden, and de Jonge, from Zimbabwe, are winless on the tour.
The three leaders played in the same group.
“It was great today,” Blixt said. “They’re both great guys, was very relaxed out there, and I just had a good time. Then they ran away a little bit, and then I got lucky, I got hot in the end and made some putts and was able to catch them in the end there. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
Moore shot a 61 to take the first-round lead, then slipped a stroke behind Blixt and de Jonge on Friday with a 68.
“It’s nice playing next to guys that are playing well and making putts,” Moore said. “Sometimes it makes that hole look even bigger when you see them just keep dropping. That’s what was happening, especially on the back nine today. Both of them got rolling and made a bunch of birdies in a row, and I kind of threw in a couple here and there and kind of stayed there with them.
“They’re both great guys to play with. I’ve played with Brendon quite a bit, but it was the first time I’ve played with Jonas. I enjoyed talking to him and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
De Jonge agreed.
“When everyone is playing well you can feed off each other, and I think we did a good job of that today, saw a lot of putts go in,” he said. “Everyone played well, and hopefully we’ll have more of the same tomorrow.”
Jimmy Walker and Tim Herron were five strokes back. Walker had a 66, and Herron shot 68.
John Daly, tied for sixth at 10 under after a season-best 63 on Friday, had a 15-over 86 to drop to last among the 72 players who made the cut. He had a quadruple bogey, a triple bogey, two double bogeys, six bogeys and two birdies in his worst round of the season.
“I can’t remember a time when I had a stretch of so many bad holes, where I hit a couple bad shots but didn’t really hit that many bad shots. This course, everybody shoots it low, but there’s times where nothing just goes right. I short-sided myself all day. If I missed a green, I had the most impossible chips. I couldn’t make a 4-footer today, and I had the lefts going. Usually if I miss the ball, it’s right, so that confused me a little bit. It’s almost you get off to a start like that, your body just almost goes into shock, and every time I tried to hit a cut, I’d hit a pull, and every time I’d try to hit a draw, I’d flare it right.”
At 132nd on the money list, the two-time major champion is trying to move into the top 125 to secure full playing privileges for next season.
“It’s just a rough day,” Daly said. “Just a tough day.”
De Jonge wasn’t worried about dwelling on his lofty position on the leaderboard.
“No, in Vegas, I definitely won’t be thinking about the tournament,” de Jonge said. “There’s a lot of other stuff to do in this place. It won’t be hard to get away from it all. That’s what’s nice about playing a tournament in a place like this. It’s very easy to get away from golf once you’re done.
CARY, N.C. — Steve Pate and Fred Funk shot 3-under 69 to share the second-round lead at 8 under in the Champions Tour’s SAS Championship.
Funk, the Insperity Championship winner in May for his seventh victory on the 50-and-over tour, birdied four of the last seven holes. He’s eighth in the Schwab Cup standings, 1,130 points behind leader Tom Lehman.
Pate is winless on the Champions Tour after winning six times on the PGA Tour.
Jay Don Blake and Andrew Magee were a stroke back. They shot 70.
Sixty-five-year-old Larry Nelson had a 66 to match Mark McNulty, Mark O’Meara and Mark Wiebe at 6 under. McNulty had a 68, and O’Meara and Wiebe shot 69.
First-round leader Russ Cochran followed his opening 66 with a 73 to finish at 5 under.
DUNHILL LINKS CHAMPIONSHIP
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Branden Grace shot a 3-under 69 at Carnoustie to take a four-stroke lead into the final round of the Dunhill Links Championship.
The South African, a three-time winner this year on the European Tour, was 20 under overall. He opened with a 60 at Kingsbarns, and had a 67 on Friday on the Old Course at St. Andrews — the site of the final round.
Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen was second after a 68 at Kingsbarns.