“I threw my caddie in the air trying to figure out the wind,” Pride said jokingly after his round of 69. “Grass, I couldn’t see.”
Vijay Singh, a 34-time PGA Tour winner whose last victory was in 2008, had a 66 Saturday. He was two strokes back after an eagle-birdie-bogey finish. After his 38-foot eagle putt at the par-5 16th, he made a 5-foot birdie at No. 17 but missed a par putt of the same distance on the last hole.
“I’ve been looking forward to this position,” he said. “My game has been coming around, but there wasn’t any signs of scoring and this s the first day where I kind of went out there and scored well.”
PGA rookie Jonas Blixt from Sweden (67) and Marc Leishman (71) were tied for sixth at 205.
Ryan Palmer, the 2011 Nelson runner-up after losing in a playoff, shot a 72 in the final group. He was with Kuchar and defending Nelson champion Keegan Bradley (71) in that group of eight at 2006.
Kuchar was 8 under and leading after consecutive birdies to start his back nine, with a 32-foot putt at No. 10 and hitting his approach at No. 11 inside 3 feet.
After hitting his tee shot at No. 12 into a fairway bunker, he had a chance to save par but missed a 6-foot putt. His tee shot at the 180-yard 13th stopped 4 inches from the pin for a tap-in birdie that got him back to 8 under and the lead, but that didn’t last long.
An errant drive on No. 14 led to a drop, then he had to punch back into the fairway before his approach to the back fringe of the green and a double bogey. His approach out of the rough at the next hole found a greenside bunker and he missed a 7-footer for par.
Bradley was only one stroke off the lead when his drive at No. 11 was way right. His shot from there went over the green and trickled into the water, leading to a triple bogey that took him to 4 under, where he finished.
Mickelson had five birdies and four bogeys for a round of 69. He failed to make up any ground even after holing a 42-foot chip shot at No. 18, where he finished with double bogey Friday.
“It was a fun way to end the day,” he said. “I had a lot of opportunities to get right back in the mix and made four or five mistakes there, sloppy bogeys.”