Buckley eyes maiden PGA Tour title chance

Hayden Buckley has started and ended the back nine with eagles for a second straight six-under 64, giving him a two-shot lead going into the final round of the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Hawaii.

Buckley holed out with a wedge from 133 yards on the 10th hole at Waialae. He finished his Saturday round with an approach to two feet on the par-5 18th hole.

He was at 15-under 195, and his two-shot lead might have been the biggest surprise in a third round that at one point featured an eight-way tie for the lead.

In his second year on the PGA Tour, Buckley had never had the lead after any round as he now eyes a maiden win which would also earn a spot in the Masters.

Buckley led from fellow Americans Chris Kirk (68), Ben Taylor (65) and David Lipsky (66), who were tied second, a shot clear of Si Woo Kim (64) and Andrew Putnam (62).

Australians Aaron Baddeley (65) and Adam Scott (67) were tied 25th, seven shots adrift of Buckley, with Cam Davis (68) a further shot back.

Nine of the leading 15 players have never won on the PGA Tour.

"I think the firmness of the course is very difficult," Buckley said. "Just because you hit it straight doesn't mean it's going to be in the fairway and the rough is up pretty heavily

"I think the putter has been there. I know I've made a lot of feet of putts, but I just put it in the right places."

The 37-year-old Kirk boasts four tour wins.

He began the third round with a one-shot lead and good vibes because of his runner-up finish two years ago that enabled him to keep full status on tour.

His first shot sailed toward the houses down the right side of the first fairways, out-of-bounds and leading to a double bogey.

He was otherwise solid from there, though he missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the 18th that would have put him in the final group.

Lipsky knows the feeling. His opening drive went left, and bounced along the cement path right of the driving range until it settled outside the white stakes. He managed to limit the damage to a bogey when he made a 25-foot putt.

"It's never ideal when your ball goes 50 yards down the path OB," Lipsky said. "I'm pretty happy with how I played and how I handled those first two holes."