Tom Watson birdied all the par-five holes for the second day in a row and, with five-under-par 67, broke out of a three-way tie and established a two-stroke lead today in the third round of the $180,000 Andy Williams-San Diego Ope golf tournament.
Watson, winner of the Bing Crosby last week and a strong, fourth-place finisher the week before that, put together a 54-hole total of 200, matching the tournament record at 16 below par. For his last 11 rounds, Watson is 37 strokes below par.
Watson's final birdie of the mild, hazy day, came on a 15-foot putt on the 18th hole at the 7,047 yard South course at the Torrey Pines, Golf Club.
Bob Shearer of Australia, a frequent winner in Europe and his home country but a 28-year-old rookie on the American tour, and Lon Hinkle shared the second-round lead with Watson. But he could not match Watson's heroics on the par-five holes. Shearer had 69 and was second at 202.
Bill Rogers (70) and Larry Nelson (68) were at 205.
The hard-hitting Hinkle, who has yet to win in four years of tour activity, slippel to 83 and was tied at 206 - six strokes back - with Ben Crenshaw (69) and rookie Keith Fergus (67).
Defending champion J. C. Snead (71) was at 208.
Watson shot 68 in the final round of the Tucson Open two weeks ago for fourth-place money, then had four consecutive sub-par rounds in winning the Crosby a week ago. He shot 66 in the opening round here and 67 in the second.
When he won the Crosby, he did it with a 72-hole score of 14-under-par 273. A year ago, when Snead repeated as the San Diego champion, he did it with 16-under-par 272.
Among those out of the running was Masters champion Ray Floyd and Englishmen Tony Jacklin and Peter Oosterhuis.
Watson missed birdie putts in the 10-12 foot range on the first two holes, then chipped in for birdie on the third.
His next three birds came on par fives. He chipped to 18 inches on the sixth hole, reached the ninth in two and was over the 13th with a three wood second shot, then chipped back to 8-10 feet and made the putt.
Watson got it to five under par with a 10-foot birdie putt on the 15th. He then hit his only poor shot of the day on the 202-yard, par-three 16th.
"I came over it, hit on the hozzle and just shanked it," he said. He missed far to the right, pitched short and made his only bogey of the day.
On the 18th, he got his drive in the rough, played his second short of the water and pitched on. The 12-footer found the hole.