Webb Simpson: Courtesy Getty Images
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Webb Simpson birdied two of his final four holes Saturday to jump into first place after three rounds of the Wells Fargo Championship.
Simpson, one of three co-leaders after the first round, carded a three-under 69 and finished 54 holes at 14-under par 202. His strong finish allowed him to emerge from a crowded field and take a one-stroke lead at Quail Hollow.
Ryan Moore (68) and D.A. Points (69) played bogey-free rounds and share second place at 13-under 203.
World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, the 2010 champion, had two bogeys but still managed a six-under 66. That round moved him up nine places into fourth, which he shares with second-round leader Nick Watney (72).
Third Round Notes From PGA
Webb Simpson (1)
The Wells Fargo Championship marks the third career 54-hole lead/co-lead for Webb Simpson:
Year and Tournament 54-hole status Finish
2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Tie with Watson 2 (playoff)
2011 Wyndham Championship 2 strokes over Gainey Win
Simpson is making his fourth start at the Wells Fargo Championship (MC-2009, MC-2010, T21-2011).
Simpson has two of the 46 birdies on the par-3 17th hole this week.
Simpson has now gone 210 consecutive holes on TOUR without recording a 3-putt, the longest active streak on TOUR.
Simpson has not missed a cut since the 2011 PGA Championship.
Simpson's 54-hole total of 202 (-14) is one stroke off the 54-hole tournament record set in 2011 by Jonathan Byrd.
Category Figures/Percentage Rank
Driving Accuracy 18 of 42 (42.9 percent) T55
Driving Distance 298.5 yards 29
Greens in Regulation 45 of 54 (83.3 percent) T3
Putts (GIR) 1.644 4
Strokes Gained - Putting 3.686 14
D.A. Points (T2)
Points has had minimal success in five previous starts at the Wells Fargo Championship, with just one made cut (T63).
Points has two top-10 finishes in 12 starts in 2012, his last being a T8 at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Ryan Moore (T2)
Moore was one of only nine of 74 players to birdie the 17th hole on Saturday.
Rory McIlroy (T4)
McIlroy regains No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a two-way tie for seventh or better at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Nick Watney (T4)
After compiling a career-best 10 top-10 finishes in 2011, the 36-hole leader Watney has just one top 10 in 10 starts this year, a T9 at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Watney has made six cuts in seven starts at the Wells Fargo Championship with five top-25 finishes - his best being T11 in his first start at Quail Hollow in 2005.
Stewart Cink (T6)
Cink's last top-10 finish in a PGA TOUR event came at the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship (T9).
Entering the week Cink ranked 102nd on TOUR for Strokes Gained - Putting but ranks fifth in the field this week (1.866).
Geoff Ogilvy (T8)
Ogilvy turned in the low third round with a 7-under-par 65, moving from T34 to T8. The 65 was the best of his 31 career rounds at Quail Hollow and his low round of 2012.
Ogilvy has never missed a cut in eight starts at the Wells Fargo Championship, with T10 finishes in 2004 and 2006.
Ogilvy has not posted a top-10 finish in 2012 in nine starts, his best being T16 at the Transitions Championship. His last top 10 was a tie for third at the 2011 BMW Championship.
John Senden (T8)
John Senden has never missed a Wells Fargo Championship, making his 10th start at the event. He has made eight cuts with a best finish of T10 in 2007.
Phil Mickelson (T30)
Phil Mickelson made his ninth cut in nine starts at the Wells Fargo Championship this week. Mickelson owns six top 10s at Quail Hollow Club (2004-T5, 2005-T7, 2007-T3, 2009-T4, 2010-2, 2011-T9).
The 54-hole leader has won four of the nine previous Wells Fargo Championship.
Rickie Fowler is the lone player in the top 10 without a PGA TOUR victory. Two players have won their first career TOUR title at the Wells Fargo Championship: Anthony Kim (2008) and Rory McIlroy (2010).
Eight players have competed in all 10 Wells Fargo Championships: Stuart Appleby, J.J. Henry, Charles Howell III, Jeff Maggert, Billy Mayfair, Carl Pettersson, John Senden and Vijay Singh.
Past champion notes
Four of the eight former Wells Fargo Championship champions in the field made the cut: Rory McIlroy (T4), David Toms (T15), Sean O'Hair (T23), Jim Furyk (T48).
R1 - Stewart Cink (65), Rickie Fowler (66), D.A. Points (66), Patrick Reed (66), Billy Mayfair (67), Vijay Singh (68)
R2 -- Heath Slocum (67), Marc Leishman (67), Hunter Haas (68), Arjun Atwal (69), Richard H. Lee (69)
R3 - Lee Westwood (68), Ryan Moore (68), J.B. Holmes (69), D.A. Points (69)
Front Back Total Cumulative
First round 35.832 35.890 71.723 ---
Second round 35.781 36.219 72.000 ---
Third round 35.514 35.243 71.243 71.739
Nos. 16-18 at Quail Hollow Club, named "The Green Mile," have cumulatively ranked as the toughest three-hole finishing stretch on TOUR in two of the last three years. Here's how they played on Saturday: No. 16 (4.014/10), No. 17 (3.257/3), No. 18 (4.284/1).
The Sports Network/PGA Tour