Loren Roberts left the kids behind in the Buick Classic.

The 48-year-old Roberts shot a 7-under-par 64 yesterday to take a one-stroke lead over Cameron Beckman and Rory Sabbatini into the final round in Harrison, N.Y.

"Hopefully, I've still got some competitive fire in me," Roberts said. "I still think there's some golf courses out here on tour that I can compete on, and I think this is one of them."

Roberts -- called the "Boss of the Moss" because of his brilliant putting touch -- has five top-10 finishes in 18 starts on the hilly, tree-lined Westchester Country Club course -- including a second-place tie in 2002.

"I've always loved this golf course," the eight-time tour winner said. "I just love old-style traditional courses. This is one of the finest that we play."

He played the back nine in 5-under 30 for his best round of the season, closing with two birdies to top the leader board at 12 under in the final PGA Tour event before the U.S. Open next week at Shinnecock Hills.

"I really got just about everything out of my round that I could have gotten," Roberts said. "Obviously, I had a great round. It would be great to dial up another one [today], but for heaven's sake, we'll just see what happens tomorrow."

Sabbatini shot a 65, and Beckman birdied the final five holes for a 66.

"I had three chip-ins in the last five holes," Beckman said. "I wasn't doing much and birdied the last five holes, so it was nice."

Tom Byrum (68) and Luke Donald (70) were 10 under, two-time Westchester winner Vijay Singh (71) and Padraig Harrington (68) were another stroke back, and 2001 winner Sergio Garcia (68) was 8 under.

Fred Couples, the second-round leader at 10 under after rounds of 67 and 65, shot a 74 to join Masters champion Phil Mickelson (69) in a five-player group at 7 under. Couples had five bogeys and an eagle -- a 60-foot bunker shot on the par-5 fifth.

It took the leaders nearly five hours to play the round with nearly all the players reaching the par 5s in two and many trying to drive the two short par 4s.

"It was punishingly slow," Roberts said. "I don't know what happened, but from the fifth hole up until the ninth hole there were three groups on every hole."

* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Allen Doyle shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Bayer Advantage Celebrity Pro-Am in Parkville, Mo.

Doyle made four birdies on the front nine and three on the back to move to 13 under. He is in position for his first Champions Tour victory of the season and his first since winning the FleetBoston Classic in August.

Doyle had a bogey-free round until the 17th, but got the stroke back with a birdie at No. 18 for a one-shot lead over Jerry Pate, who matched the course record with a 7-under 65.

Pate charged into contention with birdies on Nos. 5, 7 and 9, his last holes, and was at 12 under.

* CURTIS CUP: Michelle Wie gave the United States the lift it needed in Formby, England.

Wie, 14, led a comeback in which the U.S. team won five of six singles matches to take a 5-4 lead over Britain-Ireland in the biennial competition. Wie and partner Brittany Lang lost their foursome (alternate shot) match in morning play as the U.S. fell behind 3-0.

Cameron Beckman birdies last five holes to finish with 66. He and Rory Sabbatini trail Loren Roberts by one stroke entering the final round in Harrison, N.Y.