Bogey-free and four strokes in front after 36 holes at the Buick Championship, Justin Rose went over par on No. 37. He kept his poise, though, and was still one stroke in front yesterday after three rounds in Cromwell, Conn.

Rose missed a 14-foot par putt on the opening hole and scrambled all day for an even-par 70 that had him at 12-under 198. It was just enough to hold off Ben Curtis, his playing partner and friend.

Curtis, the 2003 British Open champion, shot a 3-under 67. His only mistake was driving into the water on No. 17.

"We've both worked hard on our games this year and it's starting to pay off," Rose said. "It was nice playing with him today."

Curtis, the first-round co-leader, is winless since that British Open. He began to turn around his game last month when he finished third at the Western Open and then contended early at the PGA Championship with a first-round 67 at Baltusrol for a share of the lead.

Four golfers, including Corey Pavin (67), who got within two strokes of the lead midway through his round, were at 202.

* LPGA TOUR: Despite closing with two bogeys, Paula Creamer moved closer to clinching the tour's rookie of the year honors.

Creamer shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after three rounds at the Wendy's Championship for Children in Dublin, Ohio.

Creamer, who won the Sybase and Evian tournaments earlier this year, can lock up the rookie title with a win. That would give her an insurmountable lead over Meena Lee in the points standings that determine the award.

Annika Sorenstam, chasing her seventh win of the year, eagled the par-5 ninth to draw within two shots of Creamer. But after they traded birdies at No. 11, Sorenstam fell back with a bogey at No. 14.

* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Doug Tewell, the 2001 Tradition champion, found himself at the top of the leader board once again after a 6-under 66 moved him into a tie with Gil Morgan for the third-round lead in Aloha, Ore.

The tour's final major of the season was crowded near the top as four strokes separated the top 10 players. Tom Jenkins was in third place at 12-under 204, while Dana Quigley was in fourth at 11-under 205.

* U.S. AMATEUR: Dillon Dougherty won the last two holes with a chip-in birdie and a gimmie par after hitting the flagstick, beating J.C. Deacon, 1 up, to advance to the final of the U.S. Amateur at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.

In the other semifinal, Italy's Edoardo Molinari built a 5-up lead through 11 holes and went on to defeat Austin Eaton III, 2 and 1.