Snedeker, Hossler, Spaun, Frittelli lead Valero Texas Open

  • Dylan Frittelli tees off on the second hole during the third round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio, Saturday, April 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)

SAN ANTONIO — Brandt Snedeker and Beau Hossler each shot rounds of 5-under 67 to join J.J. Spaun and Dylan Frittelli atop the leaderboard after the third round of the Valero Texas Open on Saturday.

Both Spaun, who shot 69, and Frittelli (70) finished with a share of the lead at 10-under 206.

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A final-hole bogey kept Scott Stallings out of the lead. He also shot 65 and was a shot back at 9-under. Matt Kuchar’s bogey at 18 dropped him to 8-under after an even-par round.

Spaun birdied four of his five holes heading to the 18th to take a one-shot lead. At the 17th he drove the green at the 303-yard par-4 and almost made the 19-foot eagle. However, he pushed his tee shot on 18 into the trees, punched out, then laid up short of the stream that guards the final green. He ended up with a 22-foot putt for par that he missed.

“If you told me this Tuesday like, ‘Hey, you’re going to be tied for the lead going into Sunday,’ I would totally take it,” Spaun said. “Yeah, bogey on the last hole, but I think it could have been worse. So I’m not too bummed out about that.”

Second-round leader Ryan Palmer didn’t have a bogey Friday. On Saturday he didn’t have a birdie and dropped to 21st place with a 5-over 77.

With a bogey-free round, Snedeker was 4-under on the backside. He is looking for his first win since 2018. It would be his 10th tour victory.

“I’ve been working hard at it, probably as hard as I ever have in my career,” Snedeker said. “I just haven’t had any success. And the only way you fix that is to go out there and do it, go out there and keep practicing and keep grinding, which I’ve been doing. And you’ve got to relish the challenge when you get them.”

Spaun and Hossler are each looking for his first tour win and Frittelli won in 2019 at the John Deere Classic.

Maverick McNealy matched the best round of the day with 65, and he was three shots back with Charles Howell III (72), Si Woo Kim (68), Denny McCarthy (68), Troy Merritt (69), Aaron Rai (68), Brendon Todd (72) and Gary Woodland (72).

Hossler had three-straight birdies starting at No. 14 when all of his approach shots finished less than 10 feet from the hole. A pro since 2016 after playing at University of Texas, Hossler has a career-best finish of second in the 2018 Houston Open and was third this year at Pebble Beach.

“I went to college and I live an hour and 10 minutes away from here,” Hossler said. “But if I start thinking about that, I’m in big trouble. So I’m just going to go out and play some golf tomorrow and hopefully that’s enough.”

Stallings, a 37-year-old three-time winner on the tour, started the day out of the top 20 and got in range of the leaders when a 36-foot birdie dropped at No. 8 to go 7-under. It was his third birdie of the day, and two more at 14 and 15 gave him a share of the lead.

“The birdie at eight, Ben Martin was in my group and had a putt beside me right before me that he lipped out,” Stallings said. “I had a good visual, but still got lucky.”

A victory would be his first since the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open and would qualify him for the Masters next week. He hasn’t played in Augusta since a missed cut in 2014.

Kuchar was two strokes out of the lead entering the day, but he was in a six-way tie for the lead when he walked off the second green after a 4-foot birdie putt. He took the lead with a 16-footer on the next. The lead was two with a birdie from 17 feet on the fourth. But his three-putt inside 40 feet on the fifth soon had him back in a tie. Spaun birdied three of his first six holes and reached 10-under at No. 6.

It was the second time this week Spaun reached double digits and was on top of the leaderboard. On Friday, he reached 10-under and bogeyed three of four holes including a lost stroke at No. 9. On Saturday, he double-bogeyed the ninth.

“I just pulled my drive into the trees,” he said. “Had a shot and I had this huge rock right in front of my ball. Yeah, it was just one of those holes where it could have been a lot better, but ended up being a lot worse.”

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